12 Jul 2017: Francesca Osowska appointed Scottish Natural Heritage chief executive
Scottish Natural Heritage’s new chief executive took up her post on 1 October 2017.
Total Budget. £48m: Staffing: £26.5m: Composition: 712. (308 male 422 female).
She was previously the principal private secretary to Alex Salmond as First Minister between 2007 and 2009.
In December 2009 she was appointed Director for Culture, External Affairs & Tourism.
In January 2010 she was appointed Director for Housing, Regeneration & the Commonwealth Games.
In January 2015 she was awarded an OBE for services to the Tory Government and the Commonwealth Games.
In January 2015 she was appointed Director for the Scotland Office, reporting to David Mundell and the UK Government in Scotland.
28 Nov 2017: Exclusive interview by Mark Smith of the Glasgow Herald to discuss the challenges of her new role
Only a few weeks after taking up the greatest challenge to her organizational abilities she elected to be interviewed by the Herald’s Mark Smith.
And she opened with an attack on her time with Alex Salmond to whom she was the Principal Private Secretary from 2007-2009.
Mark Smith reported:
“Francesca Osowska has some pretty big challenges to wrestle with, in her new job as chief executive of Scottish Natural Heritage.
Should we reintroduce wolves and lynx to Scotland?
Should the controversial culling of wild hares continue?
Can we save the capercaillie?
But none of the critical questions about Scotland’s iconic species quite compares to her days wrestling with one of the big beasts of politics: The former First Minister Alex Salmond.
The subject of Mr. Salmond crops up while Osowska and I are talking about her impressive career in government and the civil service.
Osowska, who’s 47, has been, among other things, an economist at the Scottish Office, director for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and head of the UK Government in Scotland.
But when I ask her what the lowest point of her career was, she mentions her time as principal private secretary to Alex Salmond from 2007 to 2009. She then says she’s going to have to be very careful about what she says next, which is not a surprise from Osowska.
After a long career in the civil service, the way she talks can be a bit jargony, slick, and ultimately aimed at avoiding answering the question – a bit Sir Humphrey. She pauses for a bit then decides on the words she wants to use.
“There were times when I was working as principal private secretary to the former First Minister Alex Salmond which were challenging,” she says, with a heavy emphasis on the word challenging. I would find myself at Bute House at midnight in front of my computer thinking oh s**t, how am going to resolve this by 8am? Long hours. Challenging issues.”
There’s no doubt that, after years in the civil service, Osowska is used to working in stressful environments at the highest levels. Indeed, if anything, her new post at Scottish Natural Heritage ramps up the stress even further. More here: