Mel Higgins has been appointed as the new chief executive of Derry’s urban regeneration firm, Ilex.
The announcement was made this afternoon by the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister, the Stormont department responsible for Ilex.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “The appointment of Mel Higgins as the new CEO of Regeneration Company Ilex marks a new chapter in the economic development of Derry and the north west.
“Mel comes with a wealth of experience which will bring a new focus to the economic and infrastructural needs of the region.”
The previous chief executive, Dr Aideen McGinley, announced she was stepping down from the role in July 2012 to take up a position with the BBC Trust. Ilex had come under fire from MLAs at Stormont about the way it spent public money.
Mel Higgins was then appointed as the interim CEO of Ilex.
As interim CEO Mr Higgins was Ilex’s designated accounting officer and is responsible for safeguarding public funds. He was responsible for the delivery of the company’s corporate and business plans which encompass the development of Ebrington as well as Ilex’s co-ordination role in the delivery of the One Plan.
A native of Co. Derry, Mr Higgins has worked in Ilex since 2011.
Philip Flynn, Chairman of Ilex commented: “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Mel Higgins as Chief Executive of Ilex. Having most recently held the post of Interim Chief Executive, Mel has been Ilex’s Director of Corporate Affairs since 2011. He has forged excellent working relationships with stakeholders in the public, private and community sectors and is a strong advocate of partnership working. With a full complement of widely experienced and skilled Board members in place and a permanent CEO supported by our excellent and committed staff, I believe we have a great platform on which to build an exciting future for Ebrington and Ilex”.
Mr Higgins welcomed the opportunity to lead Ilex at a time of great change for the city and said: “I look forward to leading the Ilex team and to advancing the re-development of Ebrington. 2014 will see significant change on site. Just two years after its launch, Ebrington Square is now established as the largest shared space in the city, having hosted a number of concerts and key events. In the coming weeks we will bring four buildings to market, by the summer the Creative Hub will be operational in Buildings 80 & 81, and the car park will be complete”.
(For further coverage see Friday’s Derry Journal)