New Chief Executive to lead Essential Edinburgh

Cllr Frank Ross welcomes announcement of Roddy Smith to lead the City Centre Business Improvement District.

Cllr Frank Ross, Convener of the Economy Committee, said: “Essential Edinburgh is one of our key partners and it has been a pleasure working with Andy Neal to raise the profile of the city centre. I am however, delighted to hear about this new appointment, and I am confident this excellent work will continue and Roddy’s vast commercial experience will be of great benefit to the organisation.”

Press release issued by Essential Edinburgh 


Essential Edinburgh has appointed the man who will lead the city centre’s Business Improvement District into an exciting new era. 

Roddy Smith is set to take up post as Chief Executive of the BID company in March 2015, succeeding incumbent Andy Neal who is leaving to develop a portfolio of business interests after several years at the helm. 

Andy oversaw the recent renewal ballot for the BID, securing massively improved support from amongst the 600 levy-paying businesses in the process, and since then has helped develop and deliver the £1 million post-tram relaunch of the city centre through the “This is Edinburgh” campaign in conjunction with Marketing Edinburgh and City of Edinburgh Council. 

Following Andy’s successful spell will be a challenge, but it’s a challenge Roddy is relishing. He said: “This is a wonderful new opportunity that I am looking forward to enormously, and I will work tirelessly to carry forward the excellent work to date by Andy Neal, the Board and the professional staff of Essential Edinburgh. 

“I will work closely with the 600 businesses who fund Essential Edinburgh, and with all of its partners to drive the organisation forward in the next phase of its development. We now have to deliver a number of new and existing initiatives and opportunities including, amongst others, the Edinburgh St James development.”

Roddy (46) joins Essential Edinburgh after a successful spell in charge of Cricket Scotland. During his tenure in charge of the sport, cricket’s profile in Scotland has been raised significantly and a number of high profile events and partnerships secured.  

Denzil Skinner, Chairman of Essential Edinburgh, said: “Roddy was the stand out candidate in what was a rigorous selection process which attracted some excellent applicants. He has the qualities of leadership coupled with operational, partnership and communications skills that we were looking for, and he showed a real grasp of the issues facing the city centre. 

“We are delighted to have secured Roddy, and we are confident he will build on Andy’s successful time in charge of Essential Edinburgh.” 

Andy Neal said: “I am delighted the Board has secured someone of Roddy’s pedigree to lead the organisation. He and I will spend some time working together to ensure our levy-payers see a seamless transition. The job here is stimulating and exciting, and I am sure Roddy will help develop things further.” 

Roddy Smith biography

Roddy was born in Edinburgh and schooled in both his home town and at Aberdeen Grammar School.   

After qualifying as a Physical Education teacher at Brunel University (BEd (Hons)), he taught at Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen for three years before returning to further education at Heriot Watt University, obtaining an MA in Leisure Policy and Practice in 1994. 

Smith then embarked on a 10 year career at sportscotland, the national agency for sport culminating in his appointment as the Head of the Governing Body team, responsible for the management of the annual investment of over £6M per annum into Scotland’s governing bodies of sport.  As part of this role, Smith and his team supported organisations through strategic planning processes as well as issues related to their governance and operational capability. 

In 2004 Smith was appointed as the Chief Executive of Cricket Scotland.  In the ten years in post the organisation has gone through significant change with the business and sport growing considerably during this time.  With turnover growing fivefold and the staffing compliment increasing from 8 to 25, Cricket Scotland has consistently been awarded global development accolades whilst achieving success on the field across age group and senior sides. 

The profile of the sport has been raised considerably throughout this time whilst many high profile events have been staged successfully throughout Scotland, including hosting matches with England and Australia in front of crowds of up to 7,000.  In 2007 Scotland hosted a charity match between India and Pakistan in aid of the Prince of Wales’ Charities generating over $3M.  The business has been very successful in developing and renewing partnerships with both the private and public sector to generate revenue and support for growth.  Scotland now run a fully professional national side and are about to play in the 2015 world cup in Australia and New Zealand. 

Smith played both rugby and cricket to a high club level in Scotland, including being capped at all levels for his country at cricket.  He lives in Edinburgh and is married with two daughters.

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