Crown Estate Scotland, the body that manages key coastal and rural assets, has appointed Ronan O’Hara as its Chief Executive. He will take over in September, following the retirement this August of the present incumbent, Simon Hodge.

Ronan O’Hara is currently Head of Asset Management at the University of Cambridge and was previously Strategic Advisor and Head of the Energy Management Unit at Northern Ireland’s Strategic Investment Board.

He has extensive experience in property management and development, is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS) and holds an MBA. He has worked in central and local government, as well as in the private and third sectors.

Crown Estate Scotland Chair, Amanda Bryan, said: “Ronan has a strong track record across a wide range of roles. His commitment to inclusive leadership, partnership working, and knowledge of the public, private and third sectors will prove invaluable in his new role and will help build on Simon’s stellar achievements.

“Ronan’s arrival comes at an exciting time for Crown Estate Scotland as developers progress 17 ScotWind offshore wind farms – each with an estimated average £1.5b spend in Scotland – and we continue to invest in natural resources, marine-based tourism, and development sites from Midlothian to Montrose to Moray.”

Ronan O’Hara said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Crown Estate Scotland later this year. The organisation’s role in energy production, regenerating coastal communities, and tackling the biodiversity and climate crises puts it centre stage of the green economic recovery. I look forward to joining the team and meeting tenants and partners across Scotland.”

Established in 2017, Crown Estate Scotland manages commercial property, seabed, coastline, and rural estates. As at April 2021, the public corporation had returned £44m to the Scottish Government and the portfolio – called the Scottish Crown Estate – was valued at £455.6m.

Crown Estate Scotland oversees leasing for offshore activities including fish farming and renewable energy. In January this year, the organisation sparked an angry response from the aquaculture sector when it announced a new structure for rents, due to come in from the start of 2023, which will mean big increases for many salmon farmers.

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