Wednesday, February 5, 2014

News: Newman to stay on as LEP chair

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James Newman has accepted a request from the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) board to remain as the LEP board chairman until September 2015.

LEPs are the government's new model to promote economic development. LEPs provide the strategic leadership required to set out local economic priorities, and better reflect the natural economic geography of the areas they serve.

The former Master Cutler and current chairman of Finance Yorkshire helped to bring the bid for the partnership together with businesses and local authority representatives across the city region and was named as chair in 2010.

The board's request follows the recommendations of a cross sector review panel convened as James' three year term as Chairman came to an end. The panel included representatives of key private sector stakeholders – the Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, LEP Board members and sector group chairs, as well as local and central Government partners.

The panel recognised that the coming 18 months will bring significant changes to the work of the LEP and its partners, including the negotiation and agreement of a multi-year Strategic Economic Plan and the foundation of the new Sheffield City Region Authority which will take governance from informal collaboration to joint decision making on major issues.

The panel concluded that these changes will necessitate a full review of the role of LEP chair, which will begin in September 2014. The review will inform a full recruitment process, with a view to appointing a new LEP chair in summer 2015. James has indicated he will not be seeking reappointment and will fully support the new Chair as he or she assumes their new role.

James Newman, chairman of the LEP (pictured), said: "I am delighted to have been asked to continue my leadership of the LEP, and will maintain my focus on helping the public and private sectors work together to drive economic growth in the city region."

Councillor Sir Stephen Houghton CBE, LEP board member and leader of Barnsley Council, added: "The LEP Board has recognised the strong contribution and leadership of James Newman over the last three years and felt it right that he stays on to lead the LEP through the significant challenges of delivering the SCR Growth Plan deal and the LEP's partnership with the new Sheffield City Region Authority."

Sheffield city region website

Images: SCR LEP

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