In a brief statement from the SSPO, Hesketh-Laird said: “I have greatly enjoyed working with my team at the SSPO and taking forward the cause of the salmon farming sector which is so important to Scotland and highly regarded in overseas markets.
“We have come a very long way in recent years, and I am proud to have achieved such good progress.
“As the sector emerges from the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis, it is a good time to move on and take on fresh challenges. Salmon farming is now strongly positioned to play a central role in Scotland’s economic recovery.”
SSPO chair Atholl Duncan: “We are very grateful to Julie for all the progress that has been made under her leadership.
“We wish her well for the future and we are now well positioned to build on the stability and strategic focus which she has brought to the SSPO.”
Hesketh-Laird took over as chief executive on February 19, 2018 following the retirement of Scott Landsburgh, who held the position for nearly 10 years.
She had previously been acting chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).
During her time in charge the SSPO moved its headquarters from Perth to Edinburgh and expanded its public relations team.