Non-Executive Recruitment


The Solent LEP Board is the lead decision-making entity within the LEP governance structure.

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Gary Jeffries, Chairman, Solent LEP

"This leadership requires significant capacity to engage with our local public, private and academic communities, bringing together partners from across a host of backgrounds for the benefit of the area."

Gary Jeffries, Chairman, Solent LEP


The position of Solent LEP Chair is a role that I have been proud to undertake since 2013.

In the six years since have passed since, the role of LEPs has evolved and they are now the key interface for HM Government in relation to economic development. This includes specific roles in developing local economic strategy, allocating funds, co-ordinating local partners in response to opportunities and challenges and collaborating to advocate for their areas as informed and independent voice. There is an expectation that LEPs will play an increasingly active role in delivering an economy that makes the most of opportunities available.

Our ability to deliver has also expanded. At my first Board meetings as Chair, we were in a position to direct around £42m across a range of specific projects and programmes of activity. Today, our budget is close to £250m to deliver the outputs of our £2bn investment programme for the Solent. This too is expected to grow as we look to the future and work to ensure the Solent area can benefit from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and other new Government funding programmes in the period from 2021 and beyond.

As the role of the LEP has grown, so too has the role of the Chair. Our new Chair will be required to deliver exceptional leadership to the Board, the Company and the Solent area as a whole; discharging significant responsibilities on behalf of the LEP that span Corporate Governance, Leadership and Improvement, Governance and HM Government Compliance and Stakeholder Engagement and Ambassadorial functions.

This leadership requires significant capacity to engage with our local public, private and academic communities, bringing together partners from across a host of backgrounds for the benefit of the area. Equally, our Chair will be directly accountable to HM Government at the highest level. During my tenure, I have engaged directly with senior civil servants, Ministers, Secretaries of State, Chancellors and two Prime Ministers; including at the Prime Ministers Council of Local Enterprise Partnership Chairs.

At times, the role has been challenging and whoever takes on the position will require a strong commitment to the LEP and our economy. However, the role has also been hugely rewarding and the successes we have achieved greatly outweigh the challenges we have faced. This includes delivery of the UKs first dedicated centre for cancer immunology that will develop treatments to save countless lives in the future, the opening of five new skills centres across the Solent that will ensure our next generation can benefit from the opportunities created as our economy continues to grow, and investment in close to 300 SMEs and new start-ups that are the lifeblood of our economy. I am proud to have been able to play my part in these achievements which will help ensure our economy is ready to face the future opportunities and challenges on the horizon.

Of course, achievements like these cannot be delivered alone and our new Chair will be joining an exceptional team of people committed to delivering the next wave of success stories. This includes the LEP Board of Directors, who bring with them a wealth of expertise and experience from a diverse range of backgrounds spanning the public, private and academic sectors, a huge number of supportive business leaders that help deliver the aspirations of the LEP in a myriad of ways and, of course, our executive team that are always on hand to offer the highest standards of support and guidance. I am extremely grateful to all those that have supported me in my time as Chair and, with the team we have in place, I have full confidence that my successor will be in a very strong position to build on our achievements to date.

Whilst my time on the Board is coming to an end, as a Solent resident and business leader I remain passionate about supporting our area to achieve its enormous potential as a diverse, vibrant and prosperous economy; with national and international assets that impact far beyond our own region. Whilst there remains much more to do to realise this potential, there is a bright future ahead and I would strongly encourage any business leaders that share this passion for the future of the Solent to apply for this unique and exciting role.

Gary Jeffries
Gary Jeffries, Chairman, Solent LEP

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