Scotland’s top tech adviser grilled by MSPs over ‘colossal’ salary

Mark Logan claims £200k pay packet is value for money and cites hundreds of hours of free work he has delivered

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The Scottish Government’s chief entrepreneurial adviser Mark Logan has defended his £200,000 salary, telling the parliament’s Economy and Fair Work Committee that the sum represents value for money given his senior position in the tech sector.

Questioning Logan as part of a session focusing on how he would champion entrepreneurship to help driver the economy, Conservative MSP Graham Simpson said the remuneration package equates to £2,000 a day for two days’ work a week, noting that that is “more than the first minister earns”.

“That’s quite a colossal amount,” Simpson said. “It’s a huge amount”.

“We are entitled to know what we are getting for our money,” he added. “What does £200,000 a year get us from you?”

Logan, the former Skyscanner executive who was appointed to the role after carrying out a review into how technology could be used to transform Scotland’s economic fortunes, said he does not charge the government “for the majority of the work I do”.

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“You’re actually getting an awful lot more than eight days a month work,” he said. “The Stewart Review [into women in business] – which I think is going to be a transformational programme for this country – I spent about 400 hours on that, and I haven’t charged anybody for that. I’m not sure how much free work you do for the government – but I do a lot for the government.”

He added that £2,000 a day is about the rate at which a junior consultant in businesses such as Ernst & Young or Accenture would be charged out – while he has 30 years’ experience “supporting the tech sector here in Scotland”.

Logan began his career as a BT engineer in the 1990s before moving on to work for companies including Cisco and Sumerian. He served as Skyscanner’s chief operating officer between 2012 and 2017 and has for the past three years been a professor in the University of Glasgow’s school of computing science.

In 2020 he was asked by business secretary Kate Forbes to review how Scotland’s tech industry can help with economic recovery from Covid-19.

His recommendations included setting up a range of hubs that would enable tech start-up businesses to be scaled and appointing a chief entrepreneurial adviser to lead the work – a role he was ultimately appointed to.

The Stewart Review, which is being led by investor Ana Stewart, was announced by Forbes last year aims to increase female representation in the business sector and is focusing on a number of areas including education, access to funding, and support for women in business across the country.


Sam Trendall

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