VisitScotland chief Philip Riddle stands aside

From Democracy Live: Tourism Minister Jim Mather made a statement on the issue

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The chief executive of Scotland's tourism quango has stood down from his role while he considers his future.

The announcement from VisitScotland came after weekend media reports that Philip Riddle was being forced out of the job he has held since 2001.

The agency said discussions concerning Mr Riddle, who is thought to be negotiating a severance package, were being held with him in private.

Ministers declined to comment on his position because talks were on-going.

VisitScotland said that, in light of "unhelpful" media speculation at the weekend, Mr Riddle would not undertake chief executive duties in the meantime.

The move came after the Sunday Herald newspaper reported Mr Riddle was told he had lost the confidence of colleagues amid a "boardroom power struggle" at the organisation.

In a statement to parliament, Tourism Minister Jim Mather said MSPs were right to ask questions over the future of the body, which oversees the promotion of an area vital to Scotland's economy.

Mr Mather said tourism had been "resilient" in the face of the recession and the flight disruption caused by the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud.

The minister added that personnel matters were an issue for VisitScotland, not the Scottish government, but paid tribute to Mr Riddle's contribution.

Read Douglas Fraser's Ledger- The Riddle of the Departure Lounge

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