Sarah-Jane Laing, who joined as a housing strategy officer 15 years ago, has risen through the ranks to become the first woman to hold the role of chief executive.
She is tasked with influencing the new UK government on Brexit issues that will affect Scotland, including establishing a new scheme to support the seasonal and permanent non-UK workforce upon which rural communities rely.
At Holyrood, her focus will be on addressing climate change, increasing the supply of affordable rural homes and developing a “resilient” post-Brexit land-use policy.
Laing said: “This is a critical time for rural Scotland. The challenges facing our rural businesses and communities have never been greater. They need certainty about what is going to happen with Brexit and what this could mean for them.
"Both the agricultural sector and the leisure and tourism sector rely heavily on seasonal and permanent workers from outside the UK. It is crucial that the new UK government realises that decisions they take could have unintentional consequences for rural Scotland."