Mike Cantlay appointed for further two years as NatureScot chair

20 May 2020

Dr Mike Cantlay has been appointed for a further two years as the chair of the NatureScot board by Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham.

Dr Cantlay has been NatureScot’s chair since May 2017.  He has held a number of prominent board positions and has over 20 years’ experience of public sector governance.

Dr Cantlay said:

“This is a challenging period for us all, and a crucial time for Scotland’s nature. I’m passionately committed to steering NatureScot through the pandemic and then to contributing to Scotland’s green recovery. For many of us, this crisis has reinforced how important nature is to each of us personally; we need nature for our own well-being, both mentally and physically. But nature can also help us build a healthier, stronger environment and low carbon economy, and a more inclusive society in Scotland.  We can only foster the resilience we need by making sure our nature thrives: to ease flooding, clean our water, pollinate our crops and flowers and much more.

“I look forward to working in partnership with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders to foster smart, nature-based solutions for a sustainable recovery. In the long term, as we re-brand as NatureScot, the board and I will continue to make sure we are a dynamic, resilient organisation, able to respond effectively to an ever-changing world.”

Francesca Osowska, NatureScot’s Chief Executive, said:

“Mike’s vast and varied experience in the public sector has been extremely valuable to us.  So it’s wonderful that we will continue to benefit from his leadership during this difficult time, especially as our ‘day job’ of enhancing Scotland’s natural environment and tackling the climate emergency will be such an important part of the green recovery from the pandemic.”

Dr Cantlay was an inaugural member of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority and was subsequently elected convener.  He was chair of VisitScotland from 2010 until 2016, leading the organisation through events like the Ryder Cup, the Commonwealth Games and the Year of Natural Scotland.  He has served as chair of Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley, chair of the Board of Management at Forth Valley College, an advisory member of the Board of Scottish Enterprise, chair of Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd and Board Member of VisitBritain based in London.

Dr Cantlay currently also chairs the Scottish Funding Council which is responsible for the investment of around £1.8 billion of public money in Scotland’s colleges and universities and chairman and managing director of William Glen Limited which operates tourism, leisure and retail interests in Scotland, Canada and the USA.  He and his family live near Callander in Perthshire where they tend a small country estate consisting of grazing farmland, woodland, and a stretch of the River Teith.  Dr Cantlay was awarded Public Sector Leader of the Year at the Scottish Leadership Awards 2012 and was made an OBE in 2014 for services to tourism.