The Board of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) has appointed John Mortimer to be its new Chairman. John has been Vice-Chairman and Acting-Chairman of the Board since Barry Dennington, the previous Chairman stepped down four months ago.
As Chairman, John is keen for the SWLEP to enable the growth of Swindon and Wiltshire’s economy and increase the productivity of its businesses. John said “We will continue working with our partners in Swindon Borough and Wiltshire Councils to help create the environment in which responsible businesses can thrive. Our aim is to encourage local investment and growth. I will be a champion for the area and am very keen to hear from businesses of ways in which we can collaborate to help them grow and expand the economy.”
John has a rural economy background and will bring his wide knowledge of the small and medium enterprise sector to the role. In addition, he said “Our area is home to some large and great businesses of international repute that are essential to the growth of the economy. I want the SWLEP to be a common link between them and the small and medium enterprise sector so that together, we create a resilient and sustainable local economy benefitting all and also contributing significantly to the national economy.”
As Chairman, John will also lead the Board in overseeing the organisation’s financial management. The SWLEP currently manages projects to the value of £148m including major transport schemes and projects to bring employment land to the market. John added “Economic development requires investment. As Chairman I am well aware that my most significant responsibility is to demonstrate accountability and transparency in our decision-making and operations. As a Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) we have always maintained the highest standards of efficiency in the use of public money by adhering to strict frameworks endorsed by the government and we will continue to do so.”
Paddy Bradley, Director of the SWLEP commented:“I am delighted by the Board’s decision to appoint John Mortimer as Chairman. His leadership as Vice-Chairman and Acting-Chairman has provided stability and direction to the SWLEP. I look forward to working with him and continuing our task to support businesses in the area.”
John will take up his new role with immediate effect, while also heading the Country Land & Business Association’s (CLA) South West region, a role he has held since 2002, based in Biddestone, Chippenham.
A mining engineer by profession, John has 25 years of experience in the minerals industry latterly as Technical and External Affairs Director at Hanson Quarry Products Europe Ltd. in Chipping Sodbury. During that time, he was also Chairman of the British Geological Survey and Chairman of the CBI Minerals Committee.
He is also a management board member on the South West Rural and Farming Network. He lives near Sherston after moving to Wiltshire in 1985.
Pictured above: John Mortimer, the newly appointed Chair of the SWLEP