THE Forest Industry Safety Accord’s chairman is to step down, it has been announced.

Forestry and Land Scotland chief executive Simon Hodgson, who has held the position of FISA chair since 2021, will leave the post in June.

His appointment to the top job faced stern criticism at the time, most notably from the Forestry Contracting Association, which said it breached the organisation’s own election rules.

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The FCA has accused the safety body of being uncooperative and showing a lack of transparency throughout Mr Hodgson’s term in office, with chairman Donald MacLean, in the February edition of FCA News, saying it was “time for FISA to look for a new chair”.

However, FISA said Mr Hodgson’s departure was “planned and anticipated” as his term is due to come to an end.

CEO Gillian Clark said: “Simon Hodgson will step down, as planned and anticipated, as the FISA chair in June 2023 having been in post for the two-year chair term of office. 

“Simon has also supported FISA as a director for over five years. During post Simon has provided clear and proactive leadership, helping change attitudes, encouraging a greater understanding of the need to improve safety at every level in the industry.

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“Under Simon’s direction we have seen continued membership growth and an increase in commercial members from a wider sector of industry. Our FISA working groups are active and embarking on topics as laid out in the 2023–2028 FISA strategy.

“We will now be commencing the chair nomination process to identify the next FISA chair who can continue building from the solid position that Simon leaves FISA in when he finishes in June 2023. The FISA board would like to express their thanks to Simon for his proactive approach during the period as FISA chair.”