Belfast Telegraph

New Invest NI chief Kevin Holland to ‘bring international experience to role’

Role: Kevin Holland
Role: Kevin Holland

By Mark McConville

A former advisor to the British Embassy in China with more than 25 years international business experience has been appointed Invest NI chief executive.

Kevin Holland, a surprise appointment to the post, will join the economic development agency on October 21 for a period of transition through November. He will work alongside present chief executive Alastair Hamilton who is stepping down after 10 years.

Mr Holland, originally from Bristol, will then take full responsibility as CEO.

The Invest NI chief executive role has a starting salary of £160,000 to £175,000, depending on skills and experience.

The Oxford graduate has more than 25 years experience leading and advising business growth and investment in more than 50 countries.

He was minister-counsellor of life sciences, health and social care at the British Embassy in Beijing from 2016 until this year.

Mr Holland previously spent 15 years at US-headquartered science company Baxter where he led its $600m (£488m) businesses in Russia, Turkey, the Middle East and Africa.

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Economist John Simpson said that there would be “many well-deserved tributes to the careful management of Invest NI by Alastair Hamilton”.

“In the years of the banking crisis and recession nearly two decades ago, he built up an organisation that served Northern Ireland well,” he said.

“In the Brexit tensions he has maintained the delivery of successful results for Invest NI, sometimes against the odds.

Kevin Holland’s international experience will be a major strength as he reviews how Invest NI reacts to the evolving and complex post-Brexit negotiations.

“He will need to play an influential role in the changing UK Government’s approach to FDI and the degree to which the competition rules, inherited from the EU continue or are modified.”

Rose Mary Stalker, who was appointed chair of Invest NI in July, said Mr Holland was an “outstanding candidate bringing a strong combination of international business experience and leadership skills”.

She added: “I would like to acknowledge and thank Alastair for the dedication, commitment and focus which he has provided to Invest NI over the past 10 years.”

Belfast Telegraph