In anticipation of the formal creation of the Hull and East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) on 1 April 2021, the leaders of Hull City Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council, together with the chair of the Hull and East Riding Business Engagement Board, have appointed James Newman OBE as its founding chair.
James was the founding chair of the Sheffield City Region LEP, from 2010 to 2015, having retired following the signing of one of the first City Region Devolution Deals in October 2015. He is currently chair of Finance Yorkshire and the South Yorkshire Community Foundation and has a number of other business and charitable roles, nationally and in Yorkshire.
James's reaction to being appointed was: "I am delighted to have been given this opportunity to take this role. The creation of this LEP marks the beginning of a new era for the region and I look forward to working with both the leaders, their councils, the business community and voluntary sector to create a successful partnership, which will bring more funding to the region, allowing our strategically important industries and all our businesses to drive economic growth, which will benefit the region and all its employees and communities.
"It will also be important to make sure we continue the excellent work of the current Humber LEP and work closely with our colleagues across the Humber Estuary, where our combined assets and expertise are of national importance.
"Our first task will be to recruit a new board for the LEP, alongside other advisory boards and committees, so as to ensure the new LEP is ready to start its important role as soon as possible."
Thomas Martin, chair of the Hull and East Riding Business Engagement Board and chair of the recruitment panel, said: "I am delighted that such a thorough recruitment process has secured our region the expertise, and an external perspective, that we will draw on heavily as we continue our devolution journey. A devolution deal for the region is vital to our future success together.
"The leaders of both councils, supported by the business community, are clearly aligned on this journey, and I very much hope that James, as the new chair, will draw extensively on the knowledge that has made the existing Humber LEP so productive. There are new boundaries, new rules and new relationships to be forged and these must drive additional opportunities throughout our combined coastal, rural, urban and estuary communities. The leaders have shown the way and we all now need to align around James to ensure the region continues to punch above its weight throughout the national "Levelling Up" debate."
Councillor Richard Burton, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: "I very much welcome the appointment of James Newman, who is a well-respected businessman and a resident of the East Riding. James has an excellent track record of running major businesses across Yorkshire and led the formation of the Sheffield City Region LEP as its first chair. I am delighted that he will be able to bring his vast experience to this new role as chair of our new LEP. On behalf of the council, I look forward very much to working with James and to the role that the new organisation will play in the future of Hull and East Yorkshire."
Councillor Stephen Brady, leader of Hull City Council, said, "I am delighted that James has been appointed as the chair of the Hull and East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership. James has a fantastic and very successful track record in business and also has extensive experience of working with both local and national government to bring them together and really focus on driving forward local economies and make a positive difference to businesses and residents alike.
"The Hull and East Yorkshire LEP is business led and will bring together partners from the private, public and third sectors, along with collaborating with a wide-range of local partners, to act as a powerful, informed and independent voice for Hull and East Yorkshire, and James will play a vital role in shaping, developing and leading this partnership. I am very much looking forward to working with him in his new role in what, I am sure, will be a very successful partnership."