HIGHLAND Council’s chief executive Alistair Dodds has announced his retirement from the local authority after 22 years – the last six at the helm.
Mr Dodds, originally from Kelso in the Scottish Borders, has given 31 August as his last day, leaving the council more than four months to find a successor.
He moved to the Highlands in 1991 as Depute Director of Manpower Services with the former Highland Regional Council.
In 1995, he was appointed Director of Personnel. Three years later he was appointed Director of Corporate Services and Depute Chief Executive with The Highland Council.
He was appointed to the top job in April 2007, replacing Arthur McCourt, who retired in July of that year after 12 years as Chief Executive.
Mr Dodds said: “My career has been highly challenging but also incredibly stimulating, rewarding and enjoyable.
“It has been a real privilege to serve Highland Council and the Highland population over this period. I wish the new Council every success in the future.
“I would like to sincerely thank staff and elected members for their support during my time with the Council and particularly as Chief Executive.
“I am sure the Council will continue to go forward as a successful, high performing and respected organisation.”
Council leader Drew Hendry, SNP, said: “Alistair has made a huge contribution to the Council during his 22 years of service, the last six in the top job.
“He is respected not only in Highland but across Scotland. It will be a challenge to replace him. I wish him the best of health and contentment in his well deserved retirement.”
Depute leader David Alston, Lib-Dem, said: “Alistair has always acted in the best interests of the Highlands and has led the Council into closer and more fruitful relationships with other organisations across the region.
“He is motivated by a strong commitment to public service and by a love for the culture, landscape and communities of the Highlands. We will miss him as Chief Executive and wish him well.”
Convener Jimmy Gray said: “Alistair has been hugely successful in managing the largest council area in Scotland and establishing the Council as one of the best performing and progressive in Scotland.
“It has been a pleasure to work with him.”
Leader of the Opposition Carolyn Wilson said: “I have worked closely with Alistair on many issues during my 14 years at the Council and have the highest regard for him and the service he has given.
“Alistair treats everyone the same and gives good and fair advice, which I have valued on many occasions.”
The Council has 8,673 full-time equivalent employees and a annual revenue spend of £550 million and a capital spend of £75 million as well as £42 million on maintaining and upgrading 13,000 council homes.
The recruitment process will be agreed at a meeting of the council, with a view to an appointment in June.