The man who led the Michelin factory in Dundee throughout its ramp-down and helped to establish the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP) will step down at the end of June.
John Reid, Michelin factory manager and chief executive of MSIP, will continue to be involved in the innovation project as a special adviser to the board as a new CEO is sought.
While coronavirus brought a premature end to tyre production at Michelin Dundee in March, two months ahead of schedule, work establishing a world-class innovation parc on the factory site has continued.
Mr Reid said an increasing number of inquiries were coming from larger firms looking to reassess their strategic plans and investments in light of the pandemic.
He said: “This is particularly encouraging, as these companies are seeing MSIP as the right kind of long-term, sustainable investment to take them out of the pandemic period and into the future.”
Despite the disruption caused by Covid-19, the project remains on track, with partner funding in place and a number of developments that are either progressing or ready to get under way.
The joint venture between Dundee City Council, Michelin, and Scottish Enterprise expects to announce its first tenants and partnership agreements with key academic institutions by the summer.
The MSIP vision is for tenants on the 32-hectare factory site to be involved in sustainable transport and low-carbon energy with access to an innovation campus, a skills academy, business support and green energy.
Work will start on site infrastructure as soon as the current restrictions are lifted.
Mr Reid said: “All this work and progress means that MSIP has developed in line with the target strategy. In fact, the Covid-19 situation and its impact only serves to increase the importance of MSIP.
“We’ve achieved so much at MSIP in a relatively short period of time, and there’s a strong team in place to work with the new CEO on the exciting next phase.”
Two appointments to the senior management team of MSIP have also been made. Colin Mcilraith, a senior manager from Michelin, has been appointed chief operating officer, while Audrey Ashforth, who worked as financial manager at the tyre plant, has been appointed financial controller.
John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council, praised the project’s progress.
He said: “It is quite astounding that so much progress has been made in such a short time with this project.
“The buzz we know it’s been creating among decision-makers across the country and beyond is a positive development.
“John Reid has been an integral part of that progress and I’m delighted that he will continue to provide his wisdom and support to MSIP going forward.
“I wish him all the very best with his new role.”
Scottish Enterprise chief executive Steve Dunlop added: “As we move towards looking to get the country back on its feet, the future of MSIP will be a crucial element in bringing employment and opportunities, but also ensuring a greener and fairer Scotland.”