Highland Council’s top bean counter has been promoted to the chief executive’s second in command.
Finance director Derek Yule will take on the role of Steve Barron’s deputy just months before the council makes another round of budget cuts, expected to be the worst yet.
The job opened up when former deputy Michelle Morris left her post as director of corporate development, which was axed to save the local authority £118,000.
Mr Yule, who will enjoy a £5000 salary boost from the additional role, advises councillors on upcoming budget challenges and has been known to offer stark warnings when they spend too much, including in recent years when they have all but emptied the emergency reserves to fund voluntary redundacy pay outs.
Council leader Margaret Davidson welcomed the appointment, saying: "Derek has always provided sterling advice and has a calm and reflective approach.
"Derek will make an excellent deputy and I really pleased, on behalf of members, to congratulate him on his appointment to this very important role."
Chief executive Mr Barron agreed, praising Mr Yule’s experience in senior council roles, which spans more than 10 years.
"Derek brings a wealth of experience to the depute role," he said.
"In such challenging financial times, we are extremely privileged to have a director of such high calibre working in such an important role. I am sure everyone will join with me to congratulate Derek and welcome him to this key position in the council."
Mr Yule said he is "delighted" to be appointed.