Alistair Buchan, Orkney Islands Council’s Chief Executive since 1997, has retired on medical grounds.
Council Leader James Stockan said: “Alistair has made an enormous contribution over the course of his long and distinguished career to the Council and the communities in Orkney we serve.
“I have huge respect for what he has achieved during his many years with the Council. His passion and commitment to doing the very best for our islands will leave a lasting legacy, along with his deep understanding of what was right for Orkney.
“Alistair will be greatly missed by me and my fellow Elected Members and by colleagues across the organisation he was so proud to serve.”
Mr Buchan’s career in local government began in 1988 as a personnel officer with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the Western Isles Council. He joined OIC in 1992 and, five years later, was appointed as Chief Executive at the age of 33.
He was Scotland’s youngest chief executive of an all-purpose council and was the longest serving of Scotland’s 32 local authority chief executives with over 22 years in the role. He was also the second longest serving chief executive in the UK.
In 2010, Mr Buchan was asked and agreed to be seconded to Shetland Islands Council as Chief Executive, returning to Orkney Islands Council in 2012.
In recognition of his significant contribution he has made throughout his career to Orkney and to local government in Scotland, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 2014.
Council Convener Harvey Johnston said: “The Council and the whole Orkney community has benefitted greatly from the continuity and stability Alistair has provided over so many years.
“Councils by their very nature are transient affairs. Councillors come and go, but Alistair has served the current and many previous councils in Orkney for more than a quarter of a century.
“Successful organisations need at their heart, a good, solid central pivot. Alistair has been that king pin and we have been grateful recipients of his carefully considered, wise and measured counsel over that period. We all wish him a long and happy retirement.”