Public appointment: members appointed to the Highlands and Islands Enterprise board

Public appointments news release.

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy, Kate Forbes MSP, today announced the appointment of Simon Cotton, Dr Keith Nicholson, Ailsa Raeburn and Anna Salgado as members of the board of Highland and Islands Enterprise.


Simon Cotton is an experienced business person having successfully ran manufacturing businesses for the last 13 years. His most recent role was to lead the UKs largest textiles company, Johnstons of Elgin until 2021. He was previously a member of the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board for Scotland and helped found the Sustainable Fibre Alliance promoting sustainable farming in China and Mongolia. He lives in Moray.

Dr Keith Nicholson lives in Caithness and is a serial entrepreneur and multiple award-winning subject matter expert in Cyber Security. He was awarded UK Security Specialist of the Year in 2020-21. He is a member of the Scottish Government’s National Cyber Resilience Advisory Board. Dr Nicholson is the founder of Cyber Security Scotland and works as an independent consultant. In addition to his knowledge of business development and cyber security, he also has expertise in audit, risk and technology.

Ailsa Raeburn has lived and worked in rural Argyll for almost 20 years. She is the independent chair of the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, chair of Community Land Scotland and a member of the Board of Crown Estate Scotland. She works with urban and rural communities across Scotland to support their development ambitions. She understands the many opportunities rural Scotland offers as a place to live, work and invest but also the challenges many communities face in becoming more sustainable and resilient.

Anna Salgado is Technical Director at LifeScan Scotland joining them as a graduate. She has built up nearly 20 years of experience in the design, development and high- volume manufacturing of medical devices and brings an in- depth knowledge of technology development from concept through scale up and launch, corporate governance within a global business environment, asset management and strategic planning. Ms Salgado lives in the Highlands and is a graduate of Strathclyde University, where she gained a BEng in Chemical Engineering. She is passionate about innovation, developing sustainable solutions and creating a vibrant and diverse business environment within the Highlands and Islands.


The appointments will be for three years. Dr Nicholson, Ms Raeburn and Ms Salgado will be appointed from 13 June 2022 until 12 June 2025 with Mr Cotton appointed from 1 April 2023 until 31 March 2026.

The appointments are regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.

Remuneration and time commitment

Members of the Board receive £419.00 per day for a time commitment of two days per month.

Other ministerial appointments

Dr Nicholson is a member of the Board of VisitScotland. He receives £343.12 per day for a time commitment of two days per month.

Ms Raeburn is a member of the Board of Crown Estate Scotland. She receives £219.50 per day for a time commitment of two days per month.

Mr Cotton and Ms Salgado do not hold any other ministerial appointments.

Political activity

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.

Mr Cotton, Dr Nicholson, Ms Raeburn and Ms Salgado have had no political activity within the last five years.


Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is an ambitious organisation with a broad remit from the Scottish Government that integrates economic and community development. The region comprises over half of the Scottish land mass (including 94 inhabited islands) and is home to around 470,000 people.

With 300 staff based across the region, HIE aims to lead sustainable regional growth, improve competitiveness and productivity, and build a fairer society across the Highlands and Islands, including fair work. Their three priorities are to:

  • grow successful, productive, and resilient businesses
  • create the conditions for growth
  • build strong, capable, and resourceful communities

Their vision is for the Highlands and Islands to be a highly successful, inclusive, and prosperous region in which increasing numbers of people choose to live, work, study, invest and visit.

Back to top