Scottish Canals, the custodians of Scotland’s 250-year-old inland waterways, has appointed a new Chief Executive to lead the organisation in achieving its vision of delivering long-term financial sustainability and significant public value.
Scottish Canals’ Chair Andrew Thin announced today that Catherine Topley, who has been Interim CEO since June 2018 following Steve Dunlop’s departure to Scottish Enterprise, would take the helm at the public body responsible for managing, operating and safeguarding 140 miles of Scotland’s canals.
Catherine, who has spent most of her career working in the private sector, was among more than 60 people from across the UK and beyond who applied for the high-profile post. A four-strong panel comprising a representative from the Scottish Government, two Scottish Canals’ Board members and an independent industry figure interviewed four candidates and Catherine’s appointment was unanimous.
Catherine is currently Director of Corporate Services at the Scottish Prison Service but has also worked for the Scottish Police Authority as well as in private sector roles across retail, manufacturing and financial services.
Catherine Topley said: “As the recently-launched Asset Management Strategy shows, Scotland’s canals face challenging times with a £70 million repairs backlog and 200-250 year old assets that are under constant pressure from degradation, climate change and increased usage – all at a time of public spending constraints.
“However, by creating exciting new tourist destinations at Fort Augustus, Ardrishaig and Bowling and leading regeneration work in places such as North Glasgow and Falkirk, Scotland’s canals are contributing to the economy in new and imaginative ways.”
She added: “Scottish Canals is a great organisation, with an ambitious vision and a committed and highly-skilled team. I intend to build on what it has achieved so far in using these publicly-owned heritage assets to deliver wide economic, environmental, health and social benefits in new and innovative ways for many years to come.”