Meet the Directors responsible for the day-to-day running of Historic Environment Scotland.
Elizabeth McCrone is the Director of Heritage
Elly is responsible for our Heritage Directorate which leads our role in protecting, understanding and sharing information about Scotland’s historic environment. This includes providing advice, policy and guidance about the historic environment as well as recognising and protecting our historic places through survey and recording and designations and consents.
Since joining Historic Environment Scotland in 2002, Elly has 20 years of experience working in the heritage sector. She has worked in a variety of roles mostly within our designations and consents and advice functions. She has an MA Honours degree in History of Art from the University of St Andrews as well as a postgraduate diploma in the same subject. She is a member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation and an associate member of the Royal Town Planning Institute.
Dr David Mitchell is the Director of Cultural Assets
Dr Mitchell has worked in the heritage sector for over twenty years in both the private and public sector. He holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in earth sciences and a PhD in architecture.
Before joining the organisation, he was managing director of a private firm of industrial heritage consultants and contractors where he developed a passion for the Scottish architectural iron founding industry and conservation of metals and continues to learn and share that experience.
His work at HES has been in the areas of technological and scientific research, education and skills, materials, collections and archives. He leads our work on managing the cultural assets in our care - the Properties in Care, associated Collections and the HES archive and manages the Engine Shed - Scotland's building conservation hub.
He is an Honorary Professor at the University of Stirling, the Chair of the Stirling Smith Museum and Art Gallery and a Trustee of Stirling District Tourism Ltd.
Stephen Duncan is the Director of Marketing and Engagement
Stephen's role involves managing the commercial aspects of our business, learning, outreach and interpretation activities for our visitors across our diverse portfolio of properties and includes responsibility for the organisation's commercial activities.
He has served as a Director of the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA), is a member of the Tourism Leadership Group in Scotland and has also worked as a business consultant on a number of small and large scale tourism projects.
Stephen has been chair of the Heritage Tourism Group since May 2013. In September 2014, Stephen was appointed to the board of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), the UKs most popular and iconic museums galleries and heritage attractions. He serves on the board of BIDS Scotland and is a Director of the trading arm of Historic Environment Scotland’s enterprise company.
Donella Steel is the Director of Finance and Corporate Services
Donella oversees the finances of the organisation and is responsible for developing and implementing our financial strategy, ensuring a long term financially sustainable and resilient organisation and delivery of an ambitious forward plan. She has directorial responsibility for a range of corporate functions including Finance, Procurement, Corporate Analysis and Performance, Information Governance, Project Management, Information Systems (IS), Legal Services, Internal Audit and Business Improvement.
Donella has worked in the public sector for more than 20 years including senior Finance roles for Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service.
A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy Scotland (CIPFA) in 2014, she received the Iain Doig CIPFA award for her contributions to innovation, leadership and support to CIPFA. Donella was the Chair of CIPFA in Scotland in 2020-21 and remains a committed volunteer to CIPFA.
Donella is a former member of the Inverness College Board of Management and former trustee of the Highland Hospice.
Alison Turnbull is the Director of External Relations and Partnerships
Alison’s role ensures that HES takes a consistent approach engaging with other organisations and connecting with HES and sector priorities. She oversees and supports delivery of a number of corporate strategies with cross-organisational input. These include Research, International, Our Place in Time, Gaelic Language Plan, Intangible Heritage Policy Statement, our Equality Outcomes and Fundraising. The Directorate also cover Corporate Governance, our grants function, community engagement and managing several strategic relationships on behalf of HES.
Alison has over 15 years of experience within the heritage sector, serving as the Head of Research and Development at the Museum Galleries Scotland. Before that she worked in a range of policy development roles in the Scottish Government, corporate communications, research and tertiary education.
Alison has degrees in Sociology and Cultural Studies from the University of Auckland. She is a former Deputy Chair of Hearts & Minds and is currently a Director for Scotland’s Towns Partnership.
Lindsey Ross is the Director of People
Lindsey is responsible for the HES People Directorate and for developing and implementing our People Strategy to ensure that our people are at the heart of what we do. She is passionate about helping people be at their best to deliver brilliantly for our customers and communities.
Lindsey has joined us from Lloyds Banking Group where she spent 16 years working in a number of senior HR roles, most recently Head of HR for Insurance Operations and Head of Talent and Development.
Lindsey is a social policy graduate of Edinburgh University and an Associate Member of CIPD.
Craig Mearns is the Director of Operations
Craig Mearns is our first Director of Operations. He is responsible for the operational delivery of all the activity on our sites and much of the day-to-day activity we do in local communities. He leads a team of around 800 HES colleagues based across Scotland, with diverse roles covering conservation, visitor services, local community engagement, ranger services and asset management.
Craig joins us following over 30 years’ service in the Royal Navy. He has worked across the globe and held a range of operational roles in the Arabian Gulf, Mediterranean, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Pacific and in Afghanistan. He also served in the Ministry of Defence, Whitehall, was instrumental bringing the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth into service and most recently was Captain of the Base at Faslane, where he led a large team and coordinated the safe operation of a site employing almost 7000 people.
Craig is a graduate of the University of Aberdeen and Joint Services Command and Staff College, Shrivenham. He is a Member of the Institute of Directors and has a range of external interests, including golf, skiing, dog-walking and campervan expeditions.