Northern Ireland

Invest Northern Ireland chairman announces his departure

Stephen Kingon and Arlene Foster
Image caption Mr Kingon said he will go once a replacement is found

Invest NI chairman Stephen Kingon has announced that he is to stand down from his role earlier than scheduled.

Mr Kingon is one of Northern Ireland's leading business figures. He chairs several companies and is a non-executive director of the AIB Group.

He was appointed chairman of Invest NI in January 2006. His second term was supposed to come to an end in December 2011.

Mr Kingon has now said he will go once a replacement is found.

He said he has decided to retire to ensure a successor will be in place to coincide with the new Programme for Government which will shape Invest NI's next corporate plan and set its targets.

Mr Kingon said he wanted his successor to have the maximum opportunity to contribute to this future plan.

"Following last week's agreement of a budget for 2011-2015, a new Programme for Government will follow, which will shape Invest NI's next corporate plan and the targets within it," he said.

"I feel it appropriate that my successor has the maximum opportunity to contribute to the formulation of this corporate plan from the earliest opportunity."

Mr Kingon said he had informed Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster that he was willing to work with his successor to enable a smooth transition.