Posted on Monday 7 October 2019 by John Mulgrew

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A former global life sciences executive has been named as the new head of economic development agency Invest NI, it has been revealed.

Kevin Holland is an experienced global business leader with more than 25 years international experience. He’s taking over from Alastair Hamilton as chief executive, after 10 years in the role.

Rose Mary Stalker, chair of Invest NI, said: “I am delighted that Invest NI has secured Kevin as its next Chief Executive. Kevin is an experienced global business leader with more than 25 years international expertise leading and advising business growth and investment in over 50 countries.

“He was an outstanding candidate bringing a strong combination of international business experience and leadership skills. Kevin will ensure Invest NI continues to build on the strong progress which the organisation has made under Alastair’s leadership.

“On behalf of the Board of Invest NI, both current and previous, I would like to acknowledge and thank Alastair for the dedication, commitment and focus which he has provided to Invest NI and his wider contribution to advancing the Northern Ireland economy over the past 10 years.”

He will join Invest NI on October 21 “for a period of transition through November to ensure the highest level of continuity” before taking on the role as chief executive.

Mr Holland was formerly minister-counsellor life sciences, health and social care at the British Embassy in Beijing “building deep expertise on the Chinese healthcare system and business environment”.

Previously at US-based life sciences firm Baxter for 15 years, he led the firm’s businesses in Russia, Turkey, Middle East and Africa, building a high growth, compliance-focused business employing more than 1,500 people with a broad portfolio of pharma, biotech and medical devices for chronic and severe diseases.

He’s taking over the role from outgoing chief executive Alastair Hamilton. Mr Hamilton was appointed 10 years ago to lead the agency, which is responsible for drawing foreign direct investment into Northern Ireland, and for helping homegrown companies expand.

The 10 years he's been in charge spanned the worst years of the economic crash, when Invest NI came up with strategies to help the NI economy withstand the impact of the downturn.

The agency encouraged the creation of new jobs in a shorter than usual time through the Jobs Fund. He also developed new ‘access to finance’ measures to encourage banks and other types of lenders to fund business, after banks' balance sheets in particular were badly hit by the property crash.

And in the last two years, it's aimed to continue to attract inward investors to Northern Ireland despite any potential impact of Brexit.

 

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