Lewis businesswoman bags HIE Outer Hebrides role

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A LEWIS businesswoman has been appointed as Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s new Area Manager in the Outer Hebrides.

Chartered accountant Rachel Mackenzie currently combines running her own accountancy and business advice practice with work for Stornoway firm Mann Judd Gordon and a role as finance director with AMK Plant and Tipper Hire based in Callanish.

Mrs Mackenzie will take up her post with HIE in September. She succeeds Archie Macdonald, who recently took on a new role within HIE, co-ordinating the delivery of community broadband projects across the region.

A Gaelic speaker and active crofter, Mrs Mackenzie lives in Callanish, where she grew up, and is married with two children.

Education

Educated at Breasclate Primary School and the Nicolson Institute, Stornoway, she moved to the mainland in 1993 to study for a BAcc at Glasgow University.

After graduating in 1997, she spent three years working with Grant Thornton in Glasgow while also studying for her chartered accountancy qualification.

In 2001, she was recruited by PricewaterhouseCoopers, working as an audit manager in Glasgow and undertaking a three-month secondment to Melbourne, Australia.

Returning to Lewis in 2003, she managed internal audit for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar before taking on the post of Financial Controller for software company Mysterian.

She moved into her present roles in 2006 and, until 2010, also worked as an economic analyst with renewable energy research group Greenspace Research, which was then based within Lews Castle College, Stornoway.

‘Ideal choice’

HIE Chief Executive Alex Paterson said the agency was delighted to have appointed Mrs Mackenzie to the Innse Gall Area Manager post.

“The breadth of professional and personal skills and experience which Rachel brings to this post made her an ideal choice for this position,” said Mr Paterson.

“HIE’s Innse Gall area team is working closely with ambitious businesses, social enterprises and communities to support growth throughout the Outer Hebrides, and she will play a key role in driving progress.

“Growing businesses and resilient communities are at the heart of what we are seeking to achieve across the Highlands and Islands, and Rachel will be leading an excellent team to achieve strong results.”

Rachel Mackenzie said she was greatly looking forward to working closely with local businesses and communities throughout the islands in her new role with HIE.

She said: “Becoming HIE’s Area Manager for Innse Gall gives me a really exciting opportunity to make a difference, and I’m hugely looking forward to taking up my new job in September.

“These are challenging times in the islands, as they are for the whole country, but there’s a lot we can be positive about too. Renewable energy presents huge opportunities for us, and HIE’s rollout of fibre broadband with BT over the next few years is going to benefit every sector of the economy.

“One of my first priorities will be to get close to our customers. HIE can play an important role in supporting a wide range of businesses and communities, and helping them work together for wider benefits across the islands.”