Industry leader who helped launch Ford Focus is new chair of Invest NI
A former high ranking figure in the global car and aerospace industries has been named as the new chair of Invest NI.
Rose Mary Stalker, who previously held executive and board level positions with Ford, Boeing and Rolls-Royce, replaces Mark Ennis, who has held the role since 2012.
The SSE executive chairman was due to finish his second three-year stint at the end of 2018, but his tenure was extended by 18 months, in part due to the absence of an Executive.
Currently working as an independent consultant, Ms Stalker has an extensive portfolio of influential positions in the manufacturing world and was a key figure in the development of the first Ford Focus in 1998.
Announcing the appointment yesterday, the Department for the Economy's permanent secretary Noel Lavery described the position as "a challenging role".
He said: "It is essential, particularly in this time of uncertainty, that we have strong and effective leaders with the skills and experience needed to deliver change."
Ms Stalker has been a board member of Invest NI since 2012. As chair, she is entitled to a remuneration package of £42,790 a year. The position involves four days' work a month, including board meetings and committee meetings.
Ms Stalker is a non-executive chair for advanced engineering start-up Metal Forming Innovation and the founder of 4C UR Future, a not-for-profit community interest company, set up to help inform, inspire and improve employability and career awareness in schoolchildren.
She has also chaired the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council's Manufacturing Task Force.
Until recently she served as chair of the Prince's Trust in Northern Ireland, and previously chaired the Colin Neighbourhood Partnership.
Mr Lavery said the new Invest NI chair had extensive business development experience. He said: "I am confident that her experience and drive will prove vital as we continue on the journey of transforming Northern Ireland into a globally competitive economy that works for everyone. Under her leadership, Invest Northern Ireland will continue to fulfil its role of supporting local businesses to create jobs, innovate and grow their exports; and to attract new inward investors."
The permanent secretary also paid tribute to the outgoing chair: "I would like to thank Mark for his determination and commitment during his time as chair of Invest NI.
"Throughout the past almost eight years, Mark has made a significant contribution to Invest NI's success, consistently showing strong leadership in challenging economic times."