Belfast Telegraph

Search for next Invest NI chief under way

Departure: Alastair Hamilton
Departure: Alastair Hamilton
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

The search to find the next chief executive of Invest Northern Ireland is under way, four months after Alastair Hamilton's surprise decision to step down from the high-profile role.

The top post at the economic support agency has been advertised with a starting salary of £160,000 to £175,000.

Appointed in April 2009, Mr Hamilton said in February that it had always been his intention to step down after 10 years in the role. The outgoing chief, who is reportedly on a salary in the region of £200,000 a year, said he would remain in the post until a successor was found.

His replacement will be tasked with overseeing an annual budget of £165m and a staff of around 650 people.

Belfast-based recruitment company Clarendon Executive has been tasked with the recruitment process.

The advertised post states that the incoming chief executive should be an "inspirational leader" who will be "crucial" to the success of Invest NI by providing "exemplary leadership". Strong communication skills and a proven track record of business success at an international level are also requirements.

In one of his final public appearances as chief executive, Mr Hamilton addressed the issue of his legacy at last month's Belfast Telegraph Business Awards.

Sign In

Describing taking the helm during the economic downturn in 2009, he said: "I'm proud to say that over the past five years Belfast attracted more FDI [foreign direct investment] jobs per head of population than any other city in the UK, and Northern Ireland, as a region, is number one in the UK."

Mr Hamilton said he would always be unapologetic for championing Northern Ireland.

However, he spoke of his disappointment with the current political vacuum at Stormont.

"I firmly believe that we, as a business community and society, are all much poorer for it," he said. "That political void has also undoubtedly contributed to the failure to successfully deliver on Corporation Tax.

"Having put so many plans in place, and got so close to delivering what I believe would be a transformative tool which would take our economy to the next level is, in my opinion, a huge lost opportunity - for now. I hope it is not an opportunity which is lost forever."

Applications for the post will close on July 22.

Belfast Telegraph