SSPO chair Atholl Duncan is looking for a replacement for chief executive Julie Hesketh-Laird. Photos: SSPO; FFE.

Executive head-hunter starts search for next SSPO chief

The Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) has appointed Edinburgh-based executive head-hunter FWB Park Brown to find a replacement for exiting CEO Julie Hesketh-Laird, who announced her decision to step down last month.

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SSPO chair Atholl Duncan said: “We are delighted to have appointed a company with such a strong track record in recruiting top executives to this search.

“Scottish salmon is a world-leading brand and is the UK’s top food export. There is great potential for sustainable growth in our sector and we expect there to be a number of top candidates in the running for what is a high-profile and prestigious role.

“The role is hugely important for the sector, the economy and the country. We look forward to meeting candidates who are up for this unique and important challenge.”

The SSPO has produced a 12-page brochure for candidates.

Design and drive growth

In a 12-page brochure for prospective candidates, the SSPO states that it has a £1.7 million annual budget and that the industry – which produces £1 billion of Scottish salmon annually - needs to grow to meet global demand.

“The CEO will help to design and drive this growth, with a focus on a post-Covid green-based recovery, working to improve environmental reputation and address the needs of rural communities in Scotland with investment and the creation of jobs,” writes the organisation.

“We are looking for a Chief Executive who will work hard to influence the industry, the regulators and UK and Scottish Government in order to achieve significant change.”


Key elements of the role include growing the reputation and social licence of the sector, influencing and delivering regulatory change and being a sound and effective negotiator on behalf of members.

The new CEO will also be expected to “manage the impact and influence of the anti-salmon and wild salmon campaigner communities” and accelerate the communication agenda in terms of transparency and openness.

The search for the new chief executive is being handled for FWB Park Brown by Ailsa Sutherland. The company can be contacted on and details of the position are available here.