Purvis has been with ScotlandIS since its inception in 2000 and has served as CEO for six years. During that time she has helped lead the organisation through a period of growth and to some notable industry-wide successes.
Most recently, she helped secure support from Scottish Enterprise to develop industry clusters in data and cybersecurity, moulding ScotlandIS into a combined cluster management organisation and membership body.
Purvis also lobbied for the creation of the Skills Investment Plan (published in 2014) – a strategy developed to create a strong and steady supply of skills for Scotland’s growing technology sector.
Through partnerships with industry, SDS, SFC and other skills organisations, the investment plan is helping to cultivate a vibrant, resilient skills infrastructure to support future growth.
Initiatives such as CodeClan, Digital Xtra Fund, Digital Skills Partnership and the Digital Schools Programme all have roots in the Skills Investment Plan, and work is underway to address key issues ranging from gender diversity to shortages in computing teachers throughout Scotland’s education system.
The formation of CodeClan, Scotland’s first and only SQA accredited digital skills academy, was spearheaded by Purvis.
In 2015, she was recognised for her impact on the Scottish technology sector with a lifetime achievement award from Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham MSP, an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list in 2017 and a lifetime achievement award at the 2018 Scottish Women in Technology Awards.
Commenting on the announcement, Purvis said: “I believe ScotlandIS is very well placed for its new phase of growth – we have a great staff team who share with the board an ambition to grow the business. We’re in the process of strengthening and complementing the existing team with new hires in the areas of data and cyber.
“We have a fabulous membership full of interesting, innovative and growing technology businesses who build and deliver high-quality goods and services. So it’s a good time to hand on to someone who can bring fresh passion and a belief that technology can be a real force for good, and who can help develop the potential of the digital technologies industry as a major force in the new economy being built in Scotland.”
Until a new CEO is appointed, Purvis will remain in her post to oversee an orderly transition, officially handing over to the new CEO at ScotSoft2019.
Karen Meechan will assume the role of chief operating officer (COO) and help provide “additional continuity” to the membership and focus on the organisation’s growth ambitions.
Frances Sneddon, chair of ScotlandIS and CTO of SIMUL8 Corporation, will work closely with Meechan and the new CEO to help build on Purvis’ legacy. Between them, they have more than 40 years experience in the technology sector and more than 25 years helping to run ScotlandIS in an operational and board capacity.
Purvis added: “I won’t be leaving immediately, but likely following recruitment and handover in the late summer. Alongside the new CEO, Karen Meechan will continue to support members in her new role as COO. Karen has been part of ScotlandIS for nearly as long as I have and she knows our members really well.
“With our chair, Frances, our wider board and the new CEO, our members – and the industry – will be in excellent hands.”