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Caithness News Bulletins July 2004

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Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has welcomed the appointment of William Roe as the development agency's new chairman.

Mr Roe (57), who hails from Kinlochleven, is chairman and director of leading Scottish business consultancy Rocket Science UK and chairman of software solutions firm Mysterian, based in Stornoway and Glasgow.

He takes up his new post on 1st September 2004, succeeding historian, author and broadcaster Jim Hunter, who is stepping down after six years.

Dr Hunter was among the first to pay tribute to his successor.  "William Roe became a board member of HIE at the same time as I became chairman and he has been a valued colleague throughout that period," he said.  "I am delighted he has been selected as HIE's new chairman.  It's a great job in a great part of the world and William's vision and energy will, I'm sure, make a strong contribution to the area's future."

Sandy Cumming, HIE chief executive, said Mr Roe combined a wealth of business expertise with a long-held commitment to developing the Highlands and Islands.  "This is a good appointment for the HIE network and for the Highlands and Islands," said Mr Cumming.  "William is a skilled and respected businessman who has already made a valuable contribution to the HIE network through six years' service as a board member.  "He has a real breadth of high level experience in both the private and public sectors which will prove invaluable to Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

"Jim Hunter has been an outstanding chairman for this organisation and in William Roe, I am confident we have a worthy successor."

Mr Roe expressed delight at being appointed and also paid tribute to Dr Hunter's record.  "I was pleased and honoured to accept the enterprise minister's invitation to follow Jim Hunter as chairman of the HIE network," he said.  "In recent times, the Highlands and Islands has begun to cast off the out-dated image of an area suffering terminal decline.  Instead, it is increasingly - and rightly - being recognised as an economic success story.  "Jim deserves a great deal of credit for bringing about that shift in perception, which is hugely important in building local confidence and strengthening the area's appeal to investors.

"The Highlands and Islands has a great deal to contribute to the future prosperity of Scotland and the UK.  I am very much looking forward to taking on this new position."