Penelope Cooper

Interim Director of Covid Co-ordination and Director of Culture and Major Events

Penelope Cooper

Penelope is Interim Director of Covid Co-ordination and the Director of Culture and Major Events.


  • oversees the Directorate for Covid Co-ordination, which is responsible for ensuring that the Scottish Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is robust, coherent and effective
  • oversees the Directorate for Culture and Major Events
  • chairs the COVID-19 Co-ordination Group
  • attends the 4 Harms Meetings
  • attends the X-UK Co-ordination meeting
  • attends the X-UK Small Working Group


Penelope joined the Scottish Government in July 2017 as the Chief Executive of the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) in Tweedbank. She has previously worked in senior executive financial services roles based in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, as well as the Chief Executive of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (Europe), based in Brussels.

Married with two daughters and two grandchildren, Penelope was born and brought up in Anglesey, North Wales, where she attended Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni. She qualified as a Registered Nurse in Plymouth, and having changed careers, gained a Bachelor of Arts and Master in Business Administration qualifications with the Open University. Penelope is a Chartered Manager, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management and a CIPD qualified organisational coach.

Penelope moved to Scotland in 1994, spending time in mainland Europe between 2003 and 2017 before returning to take up her post at the SPPA.