Taylor is best known for defending Abdelbaset ali Mohmed al-Megrah, who was convicted in 2001 for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Duncan McGhie, Scottish Opera's chairman for the last five years, announced in July that he would step down by spring 2005. McGhie was blamed for running large deficits and for a controversial restructuring plan aimed at restoring fiscal health to the company. Under the plan, the opera will receive a Ô£7 million bailout from the Scottish government, but must cut costs by laying off dozens of staff and chorus members, and by shutting down for the 2005-06 season.
McGhie was also chairman of the Scottish Ballet. Zoe van Zwanenburg, currently the head of Scottish Youth Dance, is replacing him in that post.
Taylor told the BBC that he admired the dignity with which the Scottish Opera's staff has responded to its financial problems, and looked forward to helping it recover.