He starts in the role next week and will report to Francesca Osowska, the organisation's chief executive. SNH is an executive non-departmental public body, funded by the Scottish government.
Ormiston's appointment comes ahead of a major rebrand of SNH. The organisation announced last month that it will change its name to NatureScot on 1 May 2020, as part of a strategy "to adapt… to meet current environment challenges".
In the announcement, Osowska said: "As NatureScot, we will be more recognisable to the general public as the organisation at the heart of helping to deliver the transformational change needed to ensure a nature-rich future for Scotland, which is part of Scotland’s commitment to tackling climate change."
She added: "People know that climate change is a big issue, but not as many know that nature – and biodiversity loss – is also a global and generational threat to human wellbeing. But it's not just about conservation – enriching our nature is also part of the solution to the climate emergency."
The rebranding process started 18 months ago and the organisation's website and social media channels are already using the NatureScot brand.
In addition to working on the rebrand, one of Ormiston's first priorities will be to help the organisation prepare for a UN climate-change summit taking place in Glasgow next year.
Ormiston told PRWeek: "I'm delighted to be joining Scottish Natural Heritage next week. It's an organisation that is showing real leadership in maintaining and enhancing our key habitats, our landscape, all our green space and our native species.
"I want to help tell that story so that we can inspire everyone to care more for Scotland's natural environment. More people are realising that it is vital we restore and enrich Scotland's biodiversity – and that a nature-rich future is our best insurance against the effects of the climate emergency. All of which is a strong motivation for me."
Career to date
After graduating from Edinburgh University in 1993 with a master's degree in African studies, Ormiston worked as a bookseller with Waterstone’s until 2000. He then took a journalism course at Strathclyde University and spent a year-and-a-half as an energy reporter at Business AM before making the move into public affairs.
He joined Scottish Renewables as its first senior wind energy officer in 2003, and by 2007 was the organisation’s chief executive.
In 2009 Ormiston joined Vattenhall UK as comms manager for the firm's wind-power business. During his time with the company he went on to hold senior roles including director of public and regulatory affairs and director of media relations and editorial.
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