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GBSLEP looks to Rhodes to drive innovation agenda as Volkaerts steps down

GBSLEP looks to Rhodes to drive innovation agenda as Volkaerts steps down

🕔01.Apr 2016

Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) has announced changes to its Board with Matthew Rhodes joining as non executive director with responsibility for leading on the innovation agenda.

Rhodes is the Managing Director of Encraft Ltd, a company which he established in 2003 to accelerate the take up of innovative low carbon energy technologies in the UK. He replaces Tracy Westall who served on the Board for three years.

In 2010 Rhodes was a joint recipient of the Sir Thomas Attwood Award for his collaborative contribution to the development of innovative projects in Birmingham. He currently chairs the Birmingham Science City Innovative Low Carbon Working Group and is also a Board member on the Black Country LEP Place Advisory Board.

Alan Volkaerts has stepped down as board director for employment and skills due to the time demands of his new role overseeing the development of new models in the Land Rover range at JLR in Gaydon.

Andrew Cleaves will take on the role of board director for employment and skills. Cleaves is Principal and Chief Executive of Birmingham Metropolitan College and formerly Managing Director of National Express. He has been GBSLEP Board Director for improving connectivity since March 2012. GBSLEP says recruitment of a new non executive board director for improving connectivity will begin shortly.

Rhodes said:

I’m delighted to have been appointed to the GBSLEP board. I look forward to working with the team and my fellow board directors to drive forward the LEP’s ambitious innovation agenda.

Andy Street, Chair of GBSLEP, welcomed him saying:

Matthew’s experience of working with universities, global companies, digital innovation leaders, local authorities and the UK Research Councils, means he is bringing a unique perspective on innovation to the LEP Board. It is a pleasure to welcome him to the Board.

Street also thanked Volkaerts for his contribution to the LEP, saying:

Alan was fundamental to securing Local Growth Funding for skills capital from the Growth Deal and led on developing the LEP’s new approach to employment and skills the ‘ignite, accelerate and retune’ model which has been adopted by the Black Country and Coventry and Warwickshire LEPs and formed a key part of the WMCA’s Devolution Deal.

I want to thank Alan for his commitment and contribution to the work of the LEP over the past 5 years.

Meanwhile Mike Reade, Regional Delivery Unit managing Director at Balfour Beatty, has been appointed as GBSLEP’s Construction Sector Champion and Simon Dingle, Operations Director at Carillion, as the Construction Skills Champion. Graham Nicoll, Business Advisory for KPMG Enterprise, and Ruth Pipkin, Managing Director of Rewired PR, have been appointed as new private sector representatives to the Growing Businesses Sub-Group.

GBSLEP’s says its refresh of the Strategic Economic Plan will be published in July 2016 and will be aligned with the new combined authority’s own plan. At its Board meeting at Lichfield Cathedral on 18th March, GBSLEP endorsed the West Midlands Devolution Agreement signed by the shadow WMCA in November 2015.

The LEP has also committed to support the development of an executive function for the Creative City Partnership, at a rate of £20,000 per year for two years. Chamberlain Files understands Birmingham City University will also support the partnership and that it will spread to cover the combined authority area.

GBSLEP will lead on the establishment of a Strategic Leadership Group for Life Sciences, to drive forward a commercially-focused strategy for growing the life sciences sector in Greater Birmingham. The Board has appointed the LEP’s Life Sciences Champion, Graham Silk, as the chair for the Group.

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