Scotland’s national economic development agency has appointed a new chief executive to lead the post-Covid recovery and boost growth.

Adrian Gillespie – who spent 16 years in leadership positions with the organisation in technology and energy sectors – returns as chief executive to help it move forward from the pandemic.

Gillespie, who was chief commercial officer at the University of Strathclyde, succeeds interim chief executive Linda Hanna following a bumpy period for the organisation when previous CEO Steve Dunlop quit in October last year.

In his role at the university, Gillespie oversaw the growth of its extensive industry facing activities and managed the development of place-based economic development projects including the National Manufacturing institute Scotland and the Glasgow City Innovation District.

And as a former managing director at Scottish Enterprise, he led the agency’s support for high-growth companies, innovation, entrepreneurship and infrastructure development.

Economy secretary Kate Forbes said: “Congratulations to Adrian Gillespie on his appointment as chief executive of Scottish Enterprise. This is a crucial time for business, trade and investment in Scotland and I look forward to working with Adrian, and leaders from across our business community, to push forward with an ambitious agenda of recovery and economic transformation.

“By working together and galvanising the expertise and ingenuity of businesses, trade unions and workforces, we will be able to seize Scotland’s economic potential and deliver greater, greener and fairer prosperity.”

Scottish Enterprise chairman, Lord Smith of Kelvin, said: “We are delighted to welcome Adrian as our new chief executive. Adrian has extensive knowledge in economic development which, coupled with his leadership abilities and recent experience at the University of Strathclyde, will bring a strong mix of skills and fresh perspective at a critical point in Scotland’s economic recovery.”

Gillespie said: “I’m very much looking forward to re-joining the talented team at Scottish Enterprise, and to working closely with our partners in business, academia and government to support recovery, innovation and growth across the country.”