The son of 1970s council chief executive Ian Clark has been chosen as the successor to Morgan Goodlad as the top official in Shetland Islands Council and he has vowed to try and cultivate a “go-getter, entrepreneurial spirit” in the isles.
Convener Sandy Cluness announced at a meeting of the full council in Lerwick Town Hall on Wednesday morning that David Clark, 43, had been chosen from a shortlist of five candidates following meetings and interviews on Monday and Tuesday.
Mr Clark has his own Lanarkshire-based consultancy firm, Dalzell Projects, which has worked with a number of local authorities, particularly in the London area, and boasts experience of having worked on several multi-million pound capital projects.
His father was credited with helping to navigate the council towards a favourable deal with the oil industry when it first arrived in the isles.
Mr Clark, who is married to wife Maureen and has no children, told The Shetland Times he was “excited” and “thrilled” about the prospect of returning to the isles. He was educated at Bell’s Brae Primary School until leaving with his family shortly before his 11th birthday.
He said: “I’m delighted to be given the opportunity and I’m really looking forward to making the move back with my wife.”
He said his father was “proud and excited” that he was following in his footsteps, but stressed that the people of Shetland shouldn’t look to the past for clues of what to expect.
Mr Clark said: “While I’m very proud of what my father achieved, I come now on my own terms, as my own man who’s made his own way in the world – they will be getting Dave Clark, not Ian Clark.”
Although an official start date has not been finalised as yet, Mr Clark anticipates that it will be within “a short number of weeks”, meaning the time lag after the departure of Mr Goodlad at the end of this month should be fairly brief.
After making the announcement before a packed council chamber, Mr Cluness joked: “I’m tempted to say it’s out with the old and in with the new.”
Mr Cluness said one of the major attractions in choosing Mr Clark – understood to be the overwhelming choice among the 22 councillors when it came to a vote – was his comprehensive experience of delivering major capital projects.
“We’re delighted to have got somebody with his experience and so on,” Mr Cluness said. “He has a lot of experience in looking after quite big capital projects for local authorities, mostly in bits of London.”
The unsuccessful candidates are understood to be three people currently working for the council – head of finance Graham Johnston, executive director of services Hazel Sutherland and assistant chief executive Willie Shannon – and an external female candidate.
For full story, see this week’s Shetland Times.