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Following a successful search exercise in partnership with Aspen towards the end of last year, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has appointed Terry A’Hearn as their new Chief Executive Officer. Terry moves from his post as CEO at the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and takes up his new position with SEPA in April. SEPA’s press release can be viewed at

SEPA is Scotland’s principal environmental regulator, actively transforming itself to cement its position as a genuinely world-leading environment protection agency. SEPA is committed to delivering an integrated and effective approach to protecting and improving Scotland’s environment, so that it continues to provide the many benefits on which the well-being of Scotland’s people and economy depend. To do so, SEPA has been actively developing new and innovative ways to tackle Scotland’s most pressing environmental issues: simplifying regulatory processes, new enforcement powers, enhancing evidence gathering and analysis, increasingly working through partnerships and engaging actively with its many stakeholders and customers. That change process is well under way and will continue to progress with Terry’s appointment.

SEPA were seeking an outstanding and inspirational leader who would empower and enable others in pursuit of excellence and innovation.  They wanted someone who would confidently secure the commitment and support of staff and their many and varied customers and stakeholders. Vitally, the successful candidate had to share SEPA’s passion and desire to improve the environment, human well-being and economic success; achieving a real, positive and lasting impact for Scotland. SEPA are in no doubt that Terry A’Hearn meets all of these requirements that he will be successful in leading them forward. Terry said of the recruitment process:

"I am delighted to have secured the prestigious role of Scottish EPA Chief Executive and found the process co-ordinated by Aspen to be professional and well run.”

The team at Aspen, led by Donogh O’Brien (Aspen Director), conducted a rigorous recruitment campaign which produced a number of quality candidates. Donogh commented that:

“This is a pivotal time of change for the Scottish EPA, who have already established themselves as a world leading institution in the environmental sector, and the interest and calibre of interest in the UK and internationally in the CEO post was significant. The Aspen team of Researchers and Coordinators ensured that no stone was left unturned in the executive search, every enquiry and applicant received timely support and feedback as part of their candidate journey. The final competition was very strong and “exceeded expectations”, however the panel eventually reached unanimous consensus on the decision and on behalf of Aspen I wish to congratulate Terry on the outcome and wish him every success in leading the organisation through the changes ahead, to an even greater platform of excellence.

 David Sigsworth, SEPA Chairman, commented positively on the recruitment process:

“Aspen provided an added value, comprehensive and innovative recruitment solutions to ensure the involvement and support of the entire SEPA Agency Board. I was very impressed by Aspen’s service throughout the recruitment process, particularly in identifying a compelling and very competitive group of candidates. Aspen’s support, challenge and advice during the interviews and subsequent discussions throughout the appointment process was invaluable.”

Terry will join a dedicated and passionate team - Aspen would like to wish both him and SEPA all the best for the future.

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