06/17/2012 03:58 EDT | Updated 08/17/2012 05:12 EDT

Nova Scotia business leader to head Bowater mill closure recovery

BROOKLYN, N.S. - The Nova Scotia government has appointed a local business leader to head a transition program aimed at helping Queens County residents cope with the closure of a paper mill.

Premier Darrell Dexter announced Sunday that Ron Smith, a Nova Scotia Business Inc. board member, has agreed to lead the project.

Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products announced on Friday that its mill in Brooklyn, known locally as Bowater, would be closing indefinitely, forcing 320 people out of work.

Dexter said in a statement that Smith will help identify future economic development opportunities and set out an action plan for the area beset by high unemployment.

The province says Smith, who has worked as a chief financial officer for Emera and Aliant Telecom, will begin work immediately at an office in Liverpool.