Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 August 2015

Invest NI: A quango chaired and overseen by business chiefs

Published 28/09/2009 | 02:05

Invest NI's headquarters building in Bedford Street in Belfast city centre
Invest NI's headquarters building in Bedford Street in Belfast city centre

Invest NI is Northern Ireland's most high-profile quango with in the region of 580 employees.

It was established in 2002, bringing together a number of separate business support bodies including the Industrial Development Board and small business agency LEDU. It has eight Northern Ireland offices including its Belfast headquarters, plus 14 international offices.

The organisation was boosted in 2005 with the opening of a modern new headquarters in Belfast's Bedford Street.

It was named Northern Ireland's best new building in an architectural awards scheme the following year.

The multi-storey HQ is funded through a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deal, with a contractor providing and maintaining the premises in return for annual payments of over £4m over a 25-year period.

Invest NI's chief executive from its launch to his retirement |earlier this year was Leslie |Morrison, who previously worked at a senior level in the US for |banking giant JP Morgan. Mr Morrison's successor is |Alastair Hamilton, a former BT managing director for Ireland who worked at Stormont for a year as one of First Minister Ian Paisley's special advisers.

Mr Morrison's remuneration in his final year, 2008/09 was disclosed as between £175,000 and £180,000.

This included £26,000 “in lieu of pension provision” and “£6,000 of bonus awards outstanding in respect of the two previous financial years”.

The current remuneration package for the chief executive's role involves “a basic salary of £160,000 and the potential for a bonus of up to 30% of salary”.

Invest NI's work is overseen by a 12-strong Government-appointed board drawn from the business community and education sectors.

Board members received £12,000 a year for performing this role in 2008/09 — £2,000 more than the figure paid in 2002/03.

The remuneration for the board's chairman climbed from £35,000 to £41,000 in the same period.

Its first chair was Fabian Monds, a founder of two firms and a University of Ulster Emeritus Professor of Information Systems.

The current chair Stephen Kingon took over the role in 2006.

Mr Kingon currently holds a number of company boardroom posts, having retired as the |managing partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Northern Ireland.

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