30 March 2010

Highlands & Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL)

The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change, Stewart Stevenson, today announced the appointment of Grenville Johnston as Chair of Highlands & Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL).

Commenting on Mr Johnston's appointment, Mr Stevenson said:

"This is a key role, and I am delighted to appoint Grenville as the new Chair of HIAL. His strong commitment and dedication to the company; knowledge of the Highlands and Islands and proven leadership skills demonstrated during his term as interim Chair will be invaluable to the company going forward.

"The challenges facing us all in the public sector and also in the aviation sector are many and HIAL will need strong and determined leadership to maintain and develop the business for the benefit of the communities it serves. Grenville's proven track record in the private and public sectors show he is the right person to lead the company to face the challenges ahead and to provide the direction it needs to move forward."

Mr Johnston, who lives in Elgin, served as a non-executive Director of HIAL from 2001-2008 and as interim Chair from February 1 2009. He was formerly senior partner/consultant with Johnston Carmichael; Chartered Accountants based in Elgin and was President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland in 2000-01. Mr Johnston is currently Chair of Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd and of Cairngorm Mountain Ltd. As Chair of Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd, he receives a daily fee rate of £337 for a minimum time commitment of three days per month. As Chair of Cairngorm Mountain Ltd, he receives a daily fee rate of £400 for an expected three days per month. He is also Lord-Lieutenant of Moray.

Mr Johnston said: "HIAL has many challenges to face in the next few years as the airport industry has not been immune from the recent downturn. But I believe that we can use these challenges to improve our service and commitment to passengers and the airlines that carry them. I am delighted to be able to help HIAL as Chairman."

Mr Johnston's interim appointment began on February 1 2009 and was initially for eight months. The Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland approved the extension of the interim appointment for a further six months, from October 1 2009 to March 31 2010.

This appointment will be for three years and will run from April 1 2010 to March 31 2013. This post is part-time and attracts a remuneration of £21,880 per annum for a minimum time commitment of 6 days per month.

Highlands & Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) is a public corporation and is wholly owned by the Scottish Ministers. The Company operates and manages 10 airports in the Highlands and Islands at Barra, Benbecula, Stornoway, Campbeltown, Islay, Tiree, Inverness, Wick, Kirkwall and Sumburgh and facilitates access to, from and around the region for a range of people in pursuit of business, health, welfare, leisure and social objectives.

In addition, HIAL took over the operation and management of Dundee Airport at the end of 2007. All of HIAL's airports are vital to the social and economic welfare of the areas which they serve, are loss making and are supported by subsidies from the Scottish Government.

Issues considered by the Board include security, safety and operational matters, commercial and route development, financial management, risk management, regional priorities, pay and pensions. The Company also administers the Air Discount Scheme (ADS) on behalf of the Scottish Ministers. The purpose of the ADS is to give remote communities in the Highlands and Islands the air services that they need to support economic development, accessibility and social inclusion, at an affordable price for residents.

This Ministerial public appointment is made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland's Code of Practice.

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees' political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public. Mr Johnston has not been involved in any political activity in the last five years.

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