Polly Purvis, the long-serving CEO of digital technologies body ScotlandIS is to retire this year.
She had been with ScotlandIS since its inception in 2000 and prior to that with the Scotland Software Federation from 1998.
She has been CEO for six years and has led the organisation to successes hailed by the wider industry.
She will remain in post until a new CEO is appointed and will officially hand over the reins at ScotSoft2019.
The ScotlandIS board has announced that Karen Meechan has been promoted to chief operating officer in a move to provide additional continuity to the membership and focusing on the continued growth of the organisation.
Frances Sneddon, chair of ScotlandIS and chief technology officer of SIMUL8 Corporation will work with Purvis, Meechan and the new CEO to build on the legacy that Polly has left.
Between them, Meechan and Purvis have more than 40 years experience in the technology sector and more than 25 years helping to run ScotlandIS in an operational and board capacity.
ScotlandIS said that Polly Purvis leave both ScotlandIS, and the Scottish digital technology industry, in excellent shape.
It said that most recently, Purvis helped secure support for ScotlandIS from Scottish Enterprise to develop industry clusters in data and cyber security, evolving ScotlandIS into a combined cluster management organisation and membership body.
She lobbied for the creation of the Skills Investment Plan (published in 2014); a strategy developed to create a strong and continuing supply of skills for the tech sector, underlining its crucial importance to the Scottish economy.
Through a partnership between industry, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council and other skills organisations ScotlandIS said the investment plan is creating a strong skills infrastructure to support future growth.
Initiatives including CodeClan, Digital Xtra Fund, Digital Skills Partnership and the Digital Schools Programme have come out of the Skills Investment Plan and further work is underway addressing a range of subjects including gender balance in the industry and recruiting more computing teachers.
The formation of CodeClan, Scotland’s first and only SQA accredited digital skills academy, was spearheaded by Polly Purvis; she recognised an opportunity for career changers and returners to develop technology skills to help fill the increasing number of job vacancies in the sector and established CodeClan to meet this need.
CodeClan is now producing more than 400 technically skilled graduates a year in Edinburgh, Glasgow and its new Highlands campus in Inverness.
Purvis also championed the formation of the Digital Xtra Fund, a charity dedicated to ensuring all young people across Scotland can benefit from hands on experience of computer science, coding and digital making regardless of geography or economic background.
She was one of the small bid team made up of industry people and academics which developed the proposal for the establishment of The Data Lab, and was also one of the founding team that established the dotScot Registry, Scotland’s top level internet domain.
Purvis has represented ScotlandIS on the Scottish Government’s Digital Public Service Advisory Board, the ICT & Digital Technologies Skills Group, the Converge Challenge Advisory Board, the ONE Digital & Entrepreneurship board, the Scotland CAN Do Innovation board, and the Industrial Advisory Board of the University of Dundee’s School of Computing.
Personally, Polly Purvis has been recognised for her impact on the Scottish tech sector, receiving a lifetime achievement award from Cabinet Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham MSP in 2015, an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list in 2017 for services to the Scottish digital technologies industry, and the lifetime achievement award at the Scottish Women in Technology Awards 2018.
Polly Purvis said: “I believe ScotlandIS is very well placed for its new phase of growth – we have a great staff team who share with the board an ambition to grow the business.
“We’re in the process of strengthening and complementing the existing team with new hires in the areas of data and cyber.
“We have a fabulous membership full of interesting, innovative and growing technology businesses who build and deliver high quality goods and services.
“So it’s a good time to hand on to someone who can bring fresh passion and a belief that technology can be a real force for good, and who can help develop the potential of the digital technologies industry as a major force in the new economy being built in Scotland.”