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Ruth Parsons retires from Historic Scotland

7 June 2012

Historic Scotland’s Chief Executive is to retire from the agency at the end of August.

Ruth Parsons leaves Historic Scotland after a career in the civil service spanning 30 years. She has held the post of Chief Executive with the agency since 2009.

Ian Walford, Chief Operating Officer at Historic Scotland will take on the role of interim Chief Executive when Ruth leaves on 31 August.

Ruth said: “After 30 years in the civil service, it is time for me to move on and try my hand at a new challenge outside government.

“Over the last three years the senior management team and Board have led Historic Scotland to deliver improved performance across its broad range of activities and responsibilities.

“We are working more effectively in terms of our engagement with the sector and the public and have improved the governance and accountability of the agency.

“I am extremely proud of what we have achieved together.  

“Historic Scotland has a key role in championing Scotland’s historic environment and the Corporate Plan sets a clear direction for working with our partners and the public to achieve this.

“This is the right time for me to move on, allowing the strong team now in place to take the plan forward.  

“I wish everyone at Historic Scotland, and within the historic environment sector, the greatest possible success for the future. It has been a enormous privilege to be the Chief Executive and have the opportunity to work with so many talented and dedicated people.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said: “During her time as Chief Executive, Ruth has made a major contribution to our vital historic environment by reinvigorating Historic Scotland’s structure, governance and operations. She leaves it in a strong position to face the challenges ahead with a robust corporate plan in place, and I am confident the agency will continue to grow stronger as a result of her vision and leadership. I would like to thank Ruth for her contribution to Historic Scotland and wish her well for the future.”

Raymond Young, non-executive director of Historic Scotland, said: “On behalf of Historic Scotland I would like to thank Ruth for her service to the organisation.

“The last three years have been a challenging period to drive the direction of the historic environment as well as managing budget reductions.

“Ruth has shown creativity, energy and engagement across the range of the agency’s activities, all of which are reflected in the strong performance of the agency and the ambitious direction and commitments of our corporate plan.”

Notes for editors

  1. Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with ensuring that our historic environment provides a strong foundation for a successful future for Scotland. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

  2. To register for media release email alerts from If you wish to unsubscribe at any time, please email   

  3. The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at:

  4. The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at

                                                           Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For further information

John MacNeil
Media Relations Manager
Communications and Media
0131 668 8600 or 07854 366 827