Paddy Bradley MBE steps down as SWLEP CEO

By Nick Batten on 25 July, 2023

Having worked for the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) for over ten years, Paddy Bradley MBE is to retire from his position as Chief Executive Officer on Thursday 27th July. 

Paddy has given much time and expertise to the SWLEP, both when it was a voluntary partnership and also since it was incorporated as a not-for-profit organisation in January 2019. He was awarded his MBE for services to the local economy and to the community in the 2023 New Year Honours List. Paddy’s drive and passion to see the success and development of not only the Swindon and Wiltshire area, but that of the wider economic community has been immense.

He has worked with other LEPs, championed the alternative energy sector, in particular the development of the use of hydrogen power, advocated the creation of the Careers Hub and Skills Advisers within the Growth Hub and was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the UK’s first Business Cyber Centre in Chippenham.

Before his time at SWLEP, he had numerous roles within Swindon Borough Council, including Director of Schools and Learning and Head of Economic Development. He spent more than 20 years in education as a teacher, headteacher and education inspector and has also been a governor in establishments for all levels of education from nursery through to sixth form and further education. Other roles have included working in IT software development and running two of his own companies, including one which he still runs with his wife.

Outside work, Paddy was a keen diver for over forty years, both in UK waters and overseas. Always keen on keeping active, he has previously run marathons but is now more likely to be found on one of the long-distance coastal paths or other walking routes around the UK.

Looking forward, Paddy plans to continue working in his own company, walking with his wife and has a trip planned to visit Antarctica in March next year.

Meanwhile, the SWLEP Board has appointed Debby Skellern as Acting CEO.

Debby has a depth of knowledge relating to the corporate governance of the LEPs, understanding of the government’s LEP framework and has most recently supported the Western Gateway (a partnership of businesses, Local Authorities, a Combined Authority, City Regions and Local Enterprise Partnerships ranging through South Wales and Western England as well as the Welsh and Westminster governments) to help progress hydrogen and net-zero priorities.

Paul Moorby, OBE and Chair of the Board of SWLEP said, “Paddy has contributed enormously to the ongoing economic development of the Swindon and Wiltshire area and has impacted further afield as well. It has been a wonderful experience working alongside him during my time as Chair. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Paddy for his tireless devotion to championing local growth and facilitating projects that help accelerate economic growth and job creation in the area.”

Paddy said, “Being CEO of SWLEP Ltd is a brilliant job to have. The business concept and implementation to create a not-for-profit company to support the economic growth of our region means it can be effective, ethical and offers transparency. As a not-for-profit business, we can use our resources to develop Swindon and Wiltshire.”

He continued, “I want to thank the Board members, both present and past for their strategic guidance and direction during my time as CEO. Their decision to appoint Debby Skellern will ensure the company continues to develop and she is well placed to support the continued growth of the Swindon and Wiltshire economies.

“I want to thank the many public and private sector partners that I have had the privilege to work with during my time at SWLEP. They, and the SWLEP’s own team, have kept me young and I can honestly say that every day has been a joy. I shall miss the camaraderie and bons viveurs of the team, but I am looking forward to my new adventures and wish SWLEP Ltd continued success under Debby’s leadership.”

Pictured above: Paddy Bradley, MBE – outgoing CEO of SWLEP