Senior appointments approved to Highland Council executive leadership team

As part of The Highland Council’s Redesign, the Council has announced two further appointments to new posts of Executive Chief Officer (ECO). 

Stuart Black, Director of Development and Infrastructure, will take up the post of ECO for Transformation and Economy at the end of the month. 

Stuart Black joined the Highland Council as Director of Planning and Development in 2008 and from 2014 was Director of Development and Infrastructure. In this post he was responsible for major projects including the delivery of the Inverness West Link, new council offices in Wick, Kingussie and Fort William, and lead officer for the £315M Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal. 

Prior to this he held senior appointments with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and was Lecturer in Land Economy at Aberdeen University. 

Stuart said: “I am looking forward to this new role and continuing to drive forward the sustainable economic development of the Highlands which has been the motivation for my career for the past 30 years”. 

Kate Lackie, previously Business Manager for the Chief Executive office, has been appointed to the post of ECO for Performance and Governance. 

Kate has been a member of the Council’s Senior Management Team for over 10 years during which time she has led a variety of policy and legislative initiatives and a range of business transformational projects.  Kate studied history and political philosophy at Cambridge University before commencing a civil service career in the Northern Ireland Office, working on electoral reform and criminal justice policy before heading up the Political Development Unit responsible for the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.   She was Private Secretary to two successive Secretaries of State before relocating to the Highlands to join the Council.  Kate has volunteered at her local school, community council and sports clubs over many years and recently gained a Masters degree from Strathclyde University. 

Kate said: “I feel very excited and privileged to be taking on this new role at such an important time of change for the Council and I am really looking forward to working with colleagues, Members and communities to drive forward the Council’s improvement agenda.” 

Stuart and Kate will join three new Executive Chief Officers (ECOs) appointed in July 

Liz Denovan, ECO – Resources and Finance took up post in August.

Carron McDiarmid, ECO – Customer and Communities takes up post in September.

Lesley Weber, starts on 25th September as ECO – Health and Social Care. 

The new senior appointments will each have responsibility for a geographical area which will help to enhance local visibility and enable the Council to become better connected to communities at a local level. 

The Highland Council approved all five posts yesterday. 

The Highland Council has already significantly reduced senior and middle management posts in recent years saving over £3.5M and is now reducing management layers further. The new structure will also deliver savings. 

The remaining Executive Chief Officer posts will be filled in the autumn. 


6 Sep 2019
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