New IoD chief calls for more feedback to ministers

COMPANIES should be given a bigger say in setting the priorities for Scottish Enterprise and Business Gateway, according to the incoming chairman of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Scotland.

Ian McKay, Scottish affairs director at Royal Mail, said he wanted the IoD and businesses to engage more with the Scottish Government in giving guidance to its economic development agencies.

McKay, who takes over as chairman from former Microsoft Scotland boss Raymond O’Hare, believes the IoD’s network of local branches places it in an ideal position to feed members’ opinions on priorities back to politicians.

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He told Scotland on Sunday: “We need to increase businesses’ knowledge about the services that are available out there and make it easier for firms to access those services.

“We need to make sure all the pathways and gateways are open for businesses and that they are being used.

“The agencies that are out there are trying to do a good job for Scottish business. But what’s possibly missing is us discussing what actually works for businesses and then feeding that back to politicians.”

McKay said he also wanted to take the debate about improving business leadership in Scotland “from being just about words and putting it into action”.

McKay said the IoD was “ideally placed” to give practical help because it is made up from individual directors rather than corporate representatives and already runs training courses for members.

“During economic downturns, companies look to cut back wherever they can, but one of the areas where I would urge them to look again at spending is on training for leaders,” McKay said.

“We all know that some people are better leaders than others, but I don’t think there’s anything inherent that makes you a leader. It’s only sensible to look at the skills you may need to lead a business.”

McKay has served on the IoD’s Scottish committee for the past two years and is also a member of the executive committee of the Scottish Council for Development & Industry and sits on the CBI’s Scottish council.