FORESTRY and Land Scotland (FLS) has appointed a new chief executive.

Kevin Quinlan will take up the reins in April following the retirement of Simon Hodgson.

Currently director of environment and forestry (EnFor) with the Scottish Government, Kevin has also worked for the UK Foreign Office across several significant roles.


“I am honoured to be given the opportunity to lead Forestry and Land Scotland,” he said. “FLS is a key agency of the Scottish Government, delivering a wide range of environmental, social benefits and economic benefits for Scotland.

"As a timber supplier and mainstay of the sector, it helps to underpin our rural economy and provides significant levels of employment that helps sustain many rural businesses and communities.  

“I would like to thank Simon Hodgson for having steered the organisation through some difficult years and for helping to ensure that FLS’ acknowledged position as forestry experts and pre-eminent land managers is assured.

“I am looking forward to this move and to engaging with our stakeholders in the coming months to better understand how we can move forward together.”

A fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland and holding an MBA (Warwick University), Kevin’s appointment comes at a time of challenge for FLS. Running on a budget deficit in the current financial period, the organisation has seen the amount of timber it harvests fall year-on-year and woodland-creation levels drop.

Forestry Journal: Simon Hodgson will step down from his position in April Simon Hodgson will step down from his position in April (Image: PR)

Simon, who also stood down from his position at FISA last year, said: “Mr Quinlan brings with him a very strong track record in environmental policy as well as economic development, and I have no doubt that his contribution in the years to come will only serve to further strengthen and enhance FLS’s reputation in the national and international forestry sector.

“Although only five years old, FLS has navigated a path through some difficult times.

“We have managed to do this thanks to the support of ministers and our many customers and stakeholders but principally thanks to our remarkable staff, who have all pulled together to play their part.

“Mr Quinlan is about to join an inspiring, committed and highly-talented team.”