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New interim Director-General Economy

Louise Macdonald joins Scottish Government to lead delivery of economic transformation.

Louise Macdonald OBE has been appointed interim Director-General (DG) Economy to lead delivery of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation and help build a strong, competitive economy as Scotland recovers from the pandemic. This is an interim post for up to 11 months.

Ms Macdonald, currently National Director of the Institute of Directors (IoD) Scotland, replaces Elinor Mitchell who is taking time away due to personal health reasons.  

Ms Macdonald will take on the fixed term role from 2 May providing a strong leadership focus on delivery of economic transformation, collaborating with business and stakeholders across a range of sectors and services, including trade and investment, business support, employability and place based economic development and skills development.

Permanent Secretary JP Marks yesterday said:

“I am delighted to welcome Louise Macdonald to my Executive Team and to the Scottish Government.  Louise has an impressive commitment to growth, reform and inclusion and is a champion for transformation in Scotland’s economy.  We want to build deep partnerships across private, voluntary and public sectors and Louise brings new leadership and creative energy at this important time for Scotland as we strive to build coalitions and embed recovery, whilst grappling with complex global challenges.  

“Louise’s leadership skills, commitment to good governance and partnership working, matched with her diverse background and ambition for Scotland will be fresh, engaging and valuable to our teams in this important next phase for Scotland’s economy. 

“I am grateful to the IoD and to the Civil Service Commission for their support.  We will repeat last year’s substantive open competition later in the year and meantime press ahead with Louise leading this important work to transform our economy.”

Interim Director-General Economy Louise Macdonald yesterday said: 

“It has been a privilege to work with the fantastic IoD Scotland members, as well as the IoD team, with so much insight shared and learning I’ll take with me into this post with the Scottish Government. The success of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation is something which matters to every business, every cross-sector organisation and every community across Scotland and I am looking forward to playing my part in that.”

Substantive recruitment for the DG Economy role will be taken forward later in the year with a successful permanent candidate announced in due course.  Both internal and external markets were tested for this role late last year. This replacement interim appointment provides additional leadership to drive delivery of economic transformation in the critical period ahead and was approved by the Civil Service Commission. 


Louise Macdonald OBE FRSE was appointed National Director of the Institute of Directors Scotland, the leading business network supporting cross sector directors and senior leaders, in June 2021. She was formerly Chief Executive of Young Scot, the multi award-winning youth information and citizenship charity with over 700,000 members aged 11-26 and was also the Independent Co-Chair of the First Minister’s Advisory Council on Women and Girls; a Board member of the Scottish Parliament think tank Scotland’s Futures Forum, a Trustee of the 5Rights Foundation and immediate past President of the European Youth Card Association (representing 41 countries and more than six million young cardholders). She was awarded an OBE in 2016 in recognition of her work to support young people and in summer 2021 was announced as the first ever Ambassador for the Scottish Seabird Centre. Louise is a keen photographer of Scotland's nature and wild places.

There are eight Directors-General who head up the Scottish civil service. A Director-General manages directorates and agencies which are responsible for proposing legislation and putting Scottish Government policy into practice.


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