LEADING Northern Ireland businessman Mark Ennis has been named as the new chairman of the board of Invest Northern Ireland,
The appointment confirmed yesterday by Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster will see Mr Ennis succeed the outgoing chairman Stephen Kingon at perhaps the most testing time in the organisation’s history - a point conceded by the Minister.
Welcoming Mr Ennis to the £40,000 a year post, which will be for three years from January, Mrs Foster said: “I want to congratulate Mark on his new appointment. The position of chair of Invest Northern Ireland is a challenging job and it is essential that in times of economic difficulties, we have strong and effective leaders who are equipped with all the skills and knowledge needed to deliver change.”
A graduate of Queen’s University Belfast, Mr Ennis is currently executive chairman of SSE Ireland, a leading electricity and gas company and has gained extensive business development experience across large and medium-sized businesses.
That, said Mrs Foster, was vital experience for his new role as the agency strove to encourage business coming out of recession.
“I am confident that his experience and drive will prove vital as we tackle the challenge of rebuilding and rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy,” she added.
The Minister also paid tribute to outgoing chairman, Stephen Kingon praising his “determination and commitment” during his tenure.
“Stephen has made a significant contribution to the success of Invest NI during a difficult economic period,” she said.
“Throughout the last five years, he has consistently shown strong leadership in response to the economic downturn. I have also welcomed the strong lead he has given to implementing the changes which I have sought following the Independent Review of Economic Policy.”
Most recently involved in the renewable energy sector, Mr Ennis was appointed a director of Airtricity Holdings and CEO of Airtricity NI in 2003. He assumed his current role last year.
Prior to joining Airtricity he was senior vice president of Chesapeake Corporation and CEO of Boxmore International a manufacturer of packaging products for the pharmaceutical, agro-chemical, and food sectors. Prior to its acquisition by Chesapeake Corporation in January 2000, Boxmore had 18 manufacturing plants located in Europe, China and South Africa and employed 1600 people.
He has also been an advisor to a number of businesses and has served as a non-executive director on several boards. He was originally appointed as a member of the Invest NI Board in April 2008 and is currently a Non-Executive Director of a number of small start-up companies operating in the energy, connected health and pharmaceutical sectors.