Invest NI chief executive to step down

Move come as a surprise as Brexit looms

Alastair Hamilton, Invest NI chief executive, is to leave his post.

Alastair Hamilton, Invest NI chief executive, is to leave his post.

 

The chief executive of Invest NI, the North’s regional business development agency, has confirmed that he intends to step down from his job later this year.

With just 29 days to go until the UK is scheduled to leave the EU Alastair Hamilton’s decision to leave Invest NI, will come as a surprise to many business leaders and industry bodies in the North.

Mr Hamilton, who was appointed in 2009 to the agency, which is equivalent to the Republic’s inward investment promotion agency, the IDA, has formally told the board of Invest NI of his plans to leave.

In a statement he said that while there “was never a good time” to leave the post of chief executive of Invest NI, it had always been his intention to step away from the job after 10 years.

 “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Invest NI and count it a great privilege to have been able to serve the organisation, and my home country, in such a significant role.

“I intend to explore new opportunities and further expand my other areas of interest,” Mr Hamilton stated.

He had formerly been head of BT in Northern Ireland and also previously worked with the DUP as chief economic and business advisor to the First Minister.

Just this week the Invest NI chief had launched the agency’s online “Get Ready for Brexit campaign”.

During the online launch Mr Hamilton set out details of the support available to Northern Ireland companies to prepare for Brexit.

“I’ve always said the role of Invest NI is to help our companies best prepare for whatever the outcome they may face and that is exactly what we are doing now and will continue to,” he said.

According to Invest NI, Mr Hamilton will remain in his current post while the agency recruits a new chief executive and to ensure a “smooth transition”.

Among those who paid tribute to the departing chief executive of Invest NI were David Sterling, head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service and DUP leader Arlene Foster.

Mr Sterling tweeted: “Sorry to hear Alastair Hamilton is resigning from @InvestNI. He has done a fantastic job over the past 10 years in promoting NI as a great place to do business, securing investment and supporting local economic development”.

While Mrs Foster also tweeted: “It was my great privilege & pleasure to work with Alastair for many years as Economy Minister. He shared my passion to make NI a great place to do business with more & better jobs. He will be able to look back with pride at all he has achieved #proudofNI”,