Five directors with special skills are to be sought for the windfarm company Viking Energy Shetland LLP (VES), which is owned by Shetland Charitable Trust and private local wind energy investors Viking Wind Limited. They could be paid £20,000-£25,000 a year to help get the windfarm up and running.
Meanwhile, local people are to be invited to become directors of Viking Energy Limited (VEL) and other companies wholly owned by the charitable trust, earning £150 a day for their efforts.
The trust is looking to remove its trustees from all subsidiary companies, including Viking, the property company SLAP and the district heating company SHEAP as part of its efforts to end conflicts of interest and introduce more skilled expertise to its boards.
Trustee directors currently only get paid expenses but the new private directors are to be specially selected and better rewarded with a day rate and paid travel if they live outwith Shetland. The money will come from the subsidiary companies’ coffers.
The changes are to be discussed at a trust meeting this morning and are being recommended for approval by trust financial controller Jeff Goddard. They result from a review of the trust’s boards carried out by the Institute of Directors (IoD).
The five directors for VES are to be recruited as soon as possible in preparation for it taking on the day-to-day running of the 103-turbine project from the wholly trust-owned subsidiary VEL.
They will bring in expertise in renewables, electricity markets, project management, procurement and construction finance. The selections will be made by the VEL board with help from recruitment consultants. Directors would stand to receive up to about £25,000 while the chairman, appointed by his fellow board members, could be on £30,000.
Once the windfarm is running, their number is likely to reduce to three.
Only one directorship in VEL is to be up for grabs by the Shetland public because it will soon cease to be actively involved in the project. The successful applicant is likely to have financial skills.
Currently the trust has three trustees as directors on VEL: Bill Manson, Alastair Cooper and Caroline Miller. Mr Cooper would be ineligible to continue because under the new arrangements no councillors or independent trustees will be allowed to apply for directorships of trust subsidiaries.
The trust’s property company SLAP owns over 30 properties and is looking for three new directors locally. Of the six current SLAP directors only two are still councillors following the May elections and become ineligible to serve on its board: Robert Henderson and Allison Duncan. The others are Jim Henry, Bill Manson, Addie Doull and Caroline Miller. However, the skills being sought for the new directors are in the fields of property/technical, financial/legal and commercial.
The five current directors of SHEAP are chairman Gary Robinson, Allison Duncan, Robert Henderson and former councillors Rick Nickerson and Jim Henry. The skills being sought from three new directors are engineering, commercial and financial.
While directors of SHEAP and SLAP will meet every few weeks the VEL directors will have only two meetings a year.
To keep the trustees of the charitable trust informed as to what is happening with their subsidiaries they will be addressed at least every three months by the company chairman.
All directors will also be subject to an annual review of their performance.
While VEL is set to downgrade its role in the windfarm development to allow VES to take over, it will remain the charitable trust’s vehicle for investing funds in the project and will accept the trust’s share of the profits, previously claimed to be around £23 million a year.
The windfarm is a partnership between the Shetland-based VES and Scottish and Southern Energy.