Leading figures in the tech and IT sector, and health, finance and regeneration experts have joined one of the most successful Local Enterprise Partnerships in the country in a move that brings massive new energy, focus and expertise to its drive to create jobs and growth.
Following an open application process, the four new members were selected from an exceptionally strong field to join the region’s dynamic Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which leads the economic growth agenda for Sheffield City Region.
In the past two years 37,000 jobs have been created across the region, and the economy has grown to an annual £31billion; smashing its own growth targets.
The four new private sector members will work with LEP Board Chairman Sir Nigel Knowles, fellow board appointees, and the city region’s political leaders to push forward business growth projects, major infrastructure improvements, skills initiatives and trade and investment work. One of the first tasks will be to agree a new Inclusive Industrial Strategy that sets the blueprint for economic growth over the next ten years.
The new board members are drawn from a diverse set of backgrounds and experience. They include:
- Laura Bennett – a Sheffield-based specialist in entrepreneurship and the digital economy. She was part of the founding team of Tech North leading on engagement with digital tech entrepreneurs and companies across the north. She designed and delivered Founders’ Network, a peer-to-peer learning programme for entrepreneurs. Previously Laura was Director of Operations for an internationally renowned entrepreneurship education consultancy, and for a social enterprise in Peru.
- Alexa Greaves – chief executive of AAG, the IT managed services company of Barlborough, Chesterfield. Alexa developed AAG from a start-up business to a £5million revenue service provider, and was previously vice president of corporate foreign exchange with JP Morgan Chase bank.
- Neil MacDonald – a former Master Cutler, Neil has been finance director in the international engineering businesses Firth Rixson and AES, and has an in-depth knowledge of corporate structures, public and private. Since retiring he has held numerous trustee and non- executive roles, currently including Pressure Technologies, the Sheffield headquartered AIM listed business.
- Richard Stubbs – a senior leader in national health and innovation organisations, based in Sheffield. He is currently the chief executive of the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network which focusses on the growth of innovation-led industries and improving NHS care. In a previous role he was head of commercial and international innovation for NHS England, and has worked internationally for government on health innovation export and inward investment.
It is hoped that a fifth new board member will be announced shortly.
The board will also be supported by former board members Chris Scholey and Simon Carr, who will continue work on specific priorities including housing and infrastructure. Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University has also agreed to be co-opted to the board to help lead on skills and employability.
Sir Nigel Knowles, Chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership, today warmly welcomed the new members, saying: “These appointments continue to strengthen our work, which is central to stimulating economic growth across the region. We have an enviable group of people here, who will build on the work done so effectively by the current and previous members.”
“We’ve seen 37,000 jobs created in the region in the past two years, and we lead the way in many international projects, with supercar manufacturers McLaren Automotive and aero giant Boeing opting to join us because of our reputation for research and innovation and our track record of getting things done.
“I look forward to a great future for Sheffield City Region with our Board driving economic success.”
Current members of the board are Sir Nigel; Vice Chair Nigel Brewster; Gavin Baldwin, CEO of Doncaster Rover FC; Sir Keith Burnett, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sheffield; Julie Kenny, Chairman of Robson Handling Technology; Martin McKervey, Partner at CMS and the nine local council leaders that make up Sheffield City Region.