Search for a new Invest NI chief begins

Two years after his appointment, the chief executive of the economic development organization Invest Northern Ireland is stepping down.

Kevin Holland was appointed in October 2019 to succeed Alastair Hamilton, who had served in the position for ten years.

Mr. Holland had informed the board of Invest NI of his desire to resign, according to Invest NI. There was no word on whether his departure from the position would be immediate.

Mr. Holland said: “I joined Invest NI in 2019 after many years building international businesses around the world. Since then, I have been truly impressed by the successful businesses and people I have met here, as well as the expertise and commitment of the Invest NI team.

“There are clear centers of excellence where Northern Ireland is truly world class.

“I am proud of the positive impact we made through both the pandemic and economic uncertainties arising from the UK’s exit from the EU.

“Now, as Invest NI enters its next planning cycle, I have decided to pass on the leadership role and to focus on a new area.

“I would like to thank you all for your support over the past couple of years and look forward to seeing the continued development of this great organization.”

Mr. Holland was a diplomat before joining Invest Northern Ireland, serving as minister-counsellor life sciences, health and social affairs at the British Embassy in Beijing, China.

He previously served on the board of directors of the US-based life sciences company Baxter, where he was responsible for the company’s operations in Russia, the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.

Mr. Holland provided “dedication and leadership… during a particularly tough time brought about by the impact of Brexit and the worldwide pandemic,” said Rose Mary Stalker, head of Invest Northern Ireland.

“During this time, Kevin has led the organisation in the delivery of emergency aid schemes and set up recovery plans for the region whilst maintaining Invest NI’s wide range of business programmes.

“We wish Kevin every success in the next chapter of his career.

“The process to recruit a new CEO will be initiated as soon as possible and interim arrangements will be announced over the coming days.”

Since the end of the Brexit transition phase, Invest NI has had to walk a fine line in marketing Northern Ireland’s dual market access to the EU and the United Kingdom under the NI Protocol as a selling point to investors.

Economy Ministers Diane Dodds, Paul Frew, and Gordon Lyons, however, have urged for the protocol’s abolition, claiming that it has created trade hurdles between the UK and Northern Ireland.

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