Sir Paul Grice to step down as Scottish Parliament chief executive

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 12 June 2019 in News

Sir Paul Grice will become Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen Margaret University

Image credit: Andrew Cowan

Chief Executive of the Scottish Parliament Sir Paul Grice has announced he is stepping down to become Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen Margaret University.

Grice, who was knighted in the New Year Honours List 2016 for services to the Scottish Parliament and voluntary services to higher education and the community in Scotland, has been Clerk and Chief Executive of the Scottish Parliament since its inception in 1999.

After senior roles at the UK departments of Transport and Environment, Grice was the civil servant responsible for setting up both the referendum on devolution and the Scotland Act which formed the parliament.

A fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, he is also a Policy Leaders Fellow at the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge and a board member of Policy Scotland at the University of Glasgow.

In a letter to members, announcing he will leave in September, Grice said: “It has been a privilege and a pleasure to have been involved with the Parliament since the beginning and to have had the opportunity to play a part in its development into a successful and well-respected institution. My enthusiasm for the Parliament and commitment to what it stands for is undimmed, but now feels like the right time for me to go.

“There will be other opportunities to say a proper goodbye and I will write again before I leave. For now, I simply wanted to thank you for all your support and encouragement over the years. Elected Members and officials, of course, play very different roles within a democracy but, in our shared commitment to the Parliament, I have always valued our respectful and constructive relationship. Indeed, it has underpinned what, for me, has been a fantastically rewarding twenty years.”

Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh said: “Paul Grice has been at the heart of the Scottish Parliament from the very beginning. He led the team which established this new open and accessible institution, designed to serve all of the people of Scotland, going on to become our first Chief Executive, the first Clerk of the Scottish Parliament.

“Paul brought professionalism and dedication to the role, but more than that, his warmth, humour and generosity of spirit are reflected back in the welcoming and supportive attitude of all the staff who work at Holyrood.  As we look back over the past 20 years, I would want to pay tribute to Paul’s leadership, his knowledge and his commitment to the Parliament all of which have been vital in guiding the organisation through the many changes we have witnessed.

 “On a personal note, he has been a guide and a friend to me and to so many other MSPs throughout our time in Parliament, and I cannot thank him enough for the help he gave me when I took on the role of Presiding Officer. His support, advice and wise counsel was always welcome, and I speak on behalf of the whole organisation to say that he will be truly missed.”

He will take over the role of Principal and Vice-Chancellor at QMU from Professor Petra Wend.

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