Scottish Enterprise has announced the appointment of Steve Dunlop as its new chief executive.

Dunlop, who takes up the post next month, joins the economic development agency from Scottish Canals where, as chief executive, “he has been the driving force that has transformed Scotland’s inland waterways and made them a catalyst for economic and social regeneration,” said Scottish Enterprise in a statement.

From the Helix Park and the Kelpies in Falkirk, to the revitalisation of North Glasgow where bold investment decisions, innovative partnerships and people-focused change are creating new jobs, homes and sustainable communities.

As a member of the Board of VisitScotland and with previous experience of senior leadership roles in the public sector, “he brings with him a track record of driving inclusive economic growth across the UK that delivers lasting change for the people who live, work and do business in these communities”.

Welcoming the appointment, economy minister Keith Brown said: “Steve is a talented leader with a fantastic ability to bring people, partners and stakeholders with him in driving meaningful and sustainable change.

“He is one of the most passionate and entrepreneurial leaders we have in Scotland and I am delighted he has accepted the role to lead Scottish Enterprise working in close collaboration with national and local partners to deliver a more joined up economic development system across Scotland.”

Dunlop commented: “There has never been a more important time to help Scottish businesses grow and internationalise. At Scottish Enterprise, I look forward to collaborating with other public bodies, the private sector and our world-class academic institutions to help optimise our talent, resources and ambition in ways that genuinely benefit Scotland.”

Scottish Enterprise chairman, Bob Keiller, added: “We are delighted to welcome Steve as our new chief executive. Steve joins the organisation at a pivotal time as we implement the recommendations from the Enterprise and Skills Review and look to the future to collaborate with partners to ensure Scotland tackles challenges and maximises economic opportunities ahead. “