Ulster-Scots body chief Carlisle named CEO of Orange Order
The Orange Order has appointed its first chief executive to run the administrative side of the institution.
Iain Carlisle (43), from Ballynahinch, Co Down, comes to the role from the Ulster-Scots Community Network, of which he was the director.
He has stated his intention to develop the Orange Order to ensure it remains sustainable and relevant in the future.
There are around 35,000 members of the institution in Ireland who belong to more than 1,000 lodges across the island.
The institution is led by grand master Edward Stevenson and a team based in Schomberg House in east Belfast.
Mr Carlisle will be leading that team and will be primarily responsible for steering the development and execution of the long-term strategy, as well as managing the operation of the Order's Belfast headquarters and administration, serving more than 1,100 private lodges.
He is due to start next month and said he felt honoured to have been appointed to the post.
"My family have been involved with the institution for generations and I have always had a keen interest in Orange culture and history," he said.
"I look forward to working with the officers and members as collectively we continue the process of developing the institution, ensuring its sustainability and relevance, both today and in the future.
"The wider Orange family has an important role in Ulster society.
"Our network of Orange halls provide valuable community facilities, and the musical traditions associated with the institution engage thousands of young people with the arts on a weekly basis.
"These and other important facets of our institution need to be acknowledged, developed and resourced appropriately and I look forward to working towards these goals."
Mr Stevenson congratulated Mr Carlisle on his appointment.
"Iain is an individual of great calibre and experience, who is highly respected both within the Orange fraternity and the wider community," he said.
"His career background, most notably successfully promoting Ulster-Scots heritage and culture, ensures he is ideally suited to spearhead this exciting new chapter for Grand Lodge.
"I have no doubt he will play a pivotal role in ensuring the institution is even more dynamic and proactive in its overall output and outreach, strengthening our status as a major stakeholder in Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic."
Mr Carlisle attended Down High School, Downpatrick, before studying history and politics at Queen's University, Belfast.
The father-of-two has been a member of the Orange Order since 1990, and is currently the secretary of Brunswick LOL 1702 as well as a member of the Royal Black Institution in Mourne district, and bandmaster of Brunswick Accordion Band in Annalong.