LENA Wilson, the outgoing boss of Scotland’s main economic development agency, received a pay package worth £279,000 in the year to March 31.

The remuneration of the Scottish Enterprise chief executive is revealed in the latest annual report for the agency. It also shows that the six other members of the executive leadership team led by Ms Wilson received pay packages worth more than £150,000 in the organisation’s most recent financial year.

Ms Wilson, one of Scotland’s highest-paid civil servants, announced her resignation from the agency in July, bringing an at times controversial tenure at the head of the quango to a close. She has drawn criticism for taking a part-time board position at the FTSE-listed company Intertek, which last year saw her earn fees of £68,000. Ms Wilson has been a non-executive director at Intertek since 2012. Willie Rennie, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, called on the Scottish Government to review its policy on public servants holding outside interests after it was announced Ms Wilson would be stepping down from the agency.

Loading article content

She remains in post at Scottish Enterprise, which confirmed its chairman, Bob Keiller, is currently working on a transition plan.

The organisation’s latest annual report shows Ms Wilson received a salary of £214,000 for the year ended March 31, topped up by pension benefits of £65,000.

The combined £279,000 package was £3,000 more than the total remuneration of £276,000 Ms Wilson received the prior year, when she was paid a salary of £212,000 and pension contributions of £64,000. It means the executive last year received a salary rise of 0.94 per cent, beneath the current public sector pay cap which limits rises to one per cent.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to scrap the cap, in effect since 2013, next year.

Scottish Enterprise notes its chief executive is contractually entitled to receive a bonus of up to 10 per cent of basic salary, but says all bonuses were suspended in 2016-17 because of current public sector pay policy.

A spokeswoman said: “Our pay award fully complies with the public sector pay policy for 2016/17. This policy limits the basic pay award (this is for cost of living) to one, but also allows employers to pay progression awards over and above the one per cent basic award. All staff in our organisation, with the exception of the CEO, are covered by the same pay award.”

Writing in the report, Ms Wilson says Scottish Enterprise delivered ten of the 11 milestones set out in its plan for 2016/17. She notes that these achievements highlight a “strong performance at a time of uncertainty and ongoing, challenging market conditions for companies and sectors” arising from the Brexit vote and the effect on the Scottish oil and gas industry from the low price of oil. Ms Wilson said it did not meet the objective of opening an innovation and investment hub in Brussels, which it expects to achieve in its current financial year. However it did open a hub in London in March, which had been a key milestone.

Ms Wilson reported that, after new investments, sales and loan repayments and revaluation adjustments, the value of equity investments and loans to companies increased to £276.1m over the period, up from £255.2m the year before. She said: “The significant uplift in value is a reflection of ongoing commitment to investment in Scottish companies.”

The agency anticipates this year will be one of transition, partly because of Brexit.