Analysis: Public deserve some answers over mysterious Scottish bank boss resignation

Few things get journalists more exercised than a secrecy row.

And when it comes to the resignation of Eilidh Mactaggart, there are plenty of questions in search of answers.

The chief executive of the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) was appointed in 2020 on a salary of £235,000 a year.

But she abruptly quit last week, with no reasons given for her departure.

Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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Nicola Sturgeon accused of secrecy over sudden resignation of bank boss

The Scottish Tories want to know why, and have accused First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of “shutting down scrutiny”.

Ms Sturgeon insists it is a matter for SNIB’s board, and Ms Mactaggart is entitled to confidentiality.

Of course, the bank, which invests money in Scottish firms and projects, is a public body.

Scottish ministers are its sole shareholders. They have pledged funding of £2 billion over its first ten years.

The Tories are not the only ones who think a bit more transparency wouldn’t go amiss.

The First Minister's official spokesman later faced a barrage of questions from frustrated journalists.

He confirmed Ms Sturgeon was aware of the reasons behind Ms Mactaggart’s resignation "in very broad terms".

Was there a non-disclosure agreement signed? Not as far as he is aware, but you would need to check with the bank.

Is there an ongoing dispute? You would need to speak to the bank.

Are there any lessons to be learned from the departure? He was not in a position to say, because he didn’t know enough detail.

Does the First Minister's understanding of Ms Mactaggart's resignation include any misgivings over the way the bank is operating? He didn’t know.

"Do you not think the public deserves better?" a journalist asked. Everyone involved is being paid out of the public purse, yet the public are being kept in the dark.

The key point, the spokesman said, is the SNIB is working and fulfilling its function.

The Scotsman asked the bank for further information, but little was forthcoming. It views it as a private matter.

It did, however, confirm no non-disclosure agreement is in place.

With SNIB chair Willie Watt set to be hauled before a Holyrood committee by MSPs seeking answers, it seems unlikely this silence can continue.

But for now, it remains a mystery. And the key point is, do the public not deserve better?

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