New CEO named by Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation

Published on
September 22, 2020

Former Scottish government minister and member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Shetland Tavish Scott has been appointed as the new chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO). 

The trade body, which represents Scotland’s salmon producers, has moved quickly to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Julie Hesketh-Laird at the end of this month. 

Scott joins SSPO from Scottish Rugby, where he has been head of external affairs. He knows the salmon farming sector well, having represented Shetland for 20 years – since the Scottish Parliament’s inception in 1999 to his departure from the legislature in 2019. 

“Scottish salmon is the U.K.’s biggest food export. Its value to the economy is immense and it has the ability to help lead Scotland out of the COVID crisis, building on its sustainable foundations and driving a green recovery,” Scott said.

SSPO Chair Atholl Duncan said the organization was delighted to have secured someone with Scott’s knowledge and experience to help lead the sector. 

“His passion for salmon farming and his deep roots in our salmon communities are well known,” Duncan said. “There is a great opportunity right now for the Scottish salmon sector to thrive and to create more jobs and prosperity in our rural and island communities. Tavish has the skills to help us all to realise this potential for the greater good of Scotland.” 

According to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) figures, exports of Scottish salmon reached a record GBP 618 million (USD 790.6 million, EUR 673.5 million) in 2019, with the volume shipped to overseas markets totaling 94,000 metric tons (MT), an increase of 26 percent compared with the previous year. France and the United States provided Scottish salmon exporters with the two most important markets in value terms.

Meanwhile, Hesketh-Laird is to join Food Standards Scotland (FSS) as strategy director on a two-year fixed term appointment beginning on 3 November.

Her responsibilities at FSS will include finalizing its new strategy to 2026, seeing through the part-government funded organization’s preparations for Brexit, and delivering regulatory strategy, nutrition, and digital programs.

Photo courtesy of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO)

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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