Elected an MSP in May 2011 representing Renfrewshire North & West, Derek was appointed Minister for Local Government and Planning in December 2011, having served on the Finance Committee of the Scottish Parliament and as PLO (Political Liaison Officer) to the Cabinet Secretary for Parliamentary Business & Government Strategy.
Following his election as an MSP, he became SNP Business Convenor Chairman of the Party, responsible for chairing Conference, the National Executive and the management and administration of the party.
Elected to Renfrewshire Council in 1999 at the age of 21 he was the youngest male Councillor in Scotland at the time. He won three successive ward elections, to become Leader of Renfrewshire Council in May 2007, taking the SNP from opposition to lead the administration for the first time. He became a national figure in local government leading the SNP group at COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) 2009-2011.
He studied at Glasgow University, but instead of completing his degree focused on local politics, becoming a leading figure in the SNP's youth and student movements.
He served on Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board as a Non Executive Director and Chair of Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership (2007 - 2011). He was also previously chair of the Paisley Vision Board and Renfrewshire's Fairtrade Steering Group.
On Twitter: @DerekMackayMSP