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by Kirsteen Paterson
03 May 2022
Scottish National Investment Bank chair tells MSPs he can't explain payout to ex-chief executive

Mactaggart left the bank in January. Picture credit: SNIB

Scottish National Investment Bank chair tells MSPs he can't explain payout to ex-chief executive

Willie Watt writes to Holyrood committee

The chair of Scotland's £2bn bank has refused to explain why its former chief executive quit with a six-figure exit payment.

Eilidh Mactaggart left her post at the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) in January.

She exited immediately without serving her six-month notice period and was given a £117,500 exit sum, equivalent to half of her salary.

Mactaggart had been in the role for two years and MSPs have questioned the circumstances behind her departure.

Nicola Sturgeon has said that is a matter for the bank's board, and that ministers were informed of Mactaggart's intention to step down.

Writing to MSPs in a letter made public today, SNIB chair Willie Watt said he was unable to "provide any further detail" about why Mactaggart was awarded the payout as this would mean "divulging personal and confidential information".

In a letter to the Scottish Parliament's Economy and Fair Work Committee, before which Watt appeared in March, he said: "As an employer we have a legal duty of care towards all employees, and we cannot, nor should we, divulge confidential and personal information related to our current or former employees. The bank has, however, been as open and transparent as possible within the confines of these obligations."

Stating that "it is important that the bank is trusted across the political spectrum", he said that "there can be many situations where an individual does not work through their notice period, yet it remains necessary to make a payment in lieu of notice, as required under the terms of an employment contract", adding: "I would emphasise that there was no severance package, termination payment, settlement agreement, or confidentiality agreement, nor anything akin to those things. I hope this clarifies the position."

Watt's letter was erroneously addressed to the Economy and Finance Committee. No panel by this name exists. 

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