Former Rothesay pupil is new HIE director

Douglas Cowan is HIE's new director of strengthening communities. (Pic Gillian Frampton/HIE)
Douglas Cowan is HIE's new director of strengthening communities. (Pic Gillian Frampton/HIE)

A former pupil of Rothesay Primary School and Rothesay Academy has been appointed as the new ‘director of strengthening communities’ for Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Douglas Cowan, who now lives in Dunoon, joined HIE in 1996 and has held a variety of roles involving property, infrastructure and strategy. Since 2008 he has been area manager for the development agency in Argyll and the Islands, working from its office in Lochgilphead.

In his new role he will oversee area teams in Argyll and the Islands, the Outer Hebrides, and Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross, where most of the region’s fragile areas are.

Mr Cowan said: “I relish the prospect of this new role. The Highlands and Islands region is showing great progress economically and socially. A priority for me is to make sure that the benefits of this progress extend to all parts of the highlands and islands.

“There are increasing numbers of ambitious communities across the region taking the initiative to shape their own future, including leading the way in community ownership of land and assets. We also have a higher rate of social enterprise activity than the rest of Scotland. It’s our role to foster these key regional strengths; support community ambitions for ownership and empowerment, and the continued growth in social enterprise, and in doing so generate sustainable economic growth across the region.”

Alex Paterson, HIE’s chief executive, said: “I very much welcome Douglas to HIE’s leadership team. Community development goes hand in hand with sustainable economic growth and has been at the heart of HIE’s remit, and the HIDB before that, since 1965.

“Douglas’s experience in working with HIE across a range of activities will prove valuable in directing the organisation and helping the region to tackle the challenges and capitalise on the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Douglas Cowan succeeds Rachael McCormack, HIE’s previous director of strengthening communities who left in December.