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Scotland’s Towns Partnership appoints new Chief Officer

Interim leader takes role on permanent basis after seven months at the helm

Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) has appointed Kimberley Guthrie as its new Chief Officer.

She has taken up the permanent post after carrying out the role on an interim basis since the beginning of April.

Kimberley is a well-known figure in Scotland’s place-making community, having worked alongside and for STP in various capacities over a number of years. She was part of the team which gathered evidence for the New Future For Scotland’s Towns report and has since been heavily involved in implementing actions arising from the influential document.

STP is the national organisation which champions Scotland’s town centres, providing expert support on policy, best practice and achieving practical action.

As Chief Officer, Kimberley will lead operations across the organisation’s stable of activities, including Scotland’s Improvement Districts and the Scotland Loves Local initiative.

Speaking about her permanent role, Kimberley said: “I am delighted to have been appointed by our Board as STP’s new chief officer. This is a special organisation – one which brings out the best in people and communities.

“There’s no hiding from the challenges that our towns face, many of them due to changes in retail.

“But I am excited by the opportunity to help bring people and ideas together to not just tackle them, but build back stronger – championing civic pride, embracing entrepreneurship and encouraging innovation to create vibrant, welcoming places which are more economically and environmentally sustainable.

“Our team is in no doubt that living well locally lies at the heart of national success – and are looking forward to even further playing our part in delivering that.”

Professor Leigh Sparks, Chair of STP, congratulated Kimberley on her new role, which was approved by the organisation’s board at its December meeting.

He said: “It’s a real pleasure to welcome Kimberley into the Chief Officer’s role on a permanent basis, having been impressed by the fantastic job she has done on an interim basis. The board is looking forward to working with her even more closely.

“Her extensive network of contacts throughout the Scottish business, public sector and place-making community will play a critical part as we collaborate with communities and organisations across Scotland – inspiring, encouraging and sharing the good practice which will deliver better towns and neighbourhoods for all.”

Kimberley has more than 25 years’ experience in senior management roles in retail and enterprise, working for a variety of small, medium and large organisations. She also ran a successful children’s boutique – through a town centre store and online – for 17 years as well as operating as a business mentor.

She took on the interim chief officer role after Phil Prentice stepped back from the position following eight-and-a-half years, although he remains involved as a part-time strategic consultant, supporting the development of new and emerging improvement districts.