Executive Recruitment


Below you will find biographies of all LEP Board Members as well as a public version of each Board Member's Register of Interest Return. A biography and Register of Interest Return for our S151 Officer who attends all LEP Board meetings is also included below.

The Solent LEP Board is the lead decision-making entity within the LEP governance structure. The LEP Board provides strategic leadership, determines policy direction, and is the ultimate decision-making body of the Solent LEP. The terms of reference for the Solent LEP Board is available here.


Solent LEP Chairman

Register of Interest

Gary Jeffries' Register of Interest can be found here.


Gary is the Managing Director of Hughes Ellard, the south coast’s largest independent commercial real estate consultancy. In this role, he specialises in major developments and in handling the property interests of major corporations and industrialists; experience which is invaluable to the Solent LEPs aspirations for creating growth and inward investment in the region.

Gary has lived in the Solent region for his entire life and actively represents the region in his role as President for the Portsmouth area of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.

Previous roles Gary has held include General Manager of Healey and Baker, Austria, and Associate Director of Austin Adams, Portsmouth.

Gary is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He holds two degrees; a BSc in Estate Management and a MBA in Business, and is currently conducting research for a PhD in Perceptions of Leadership in his free time.


Solent LEP Higher Education Director

Register of Interest

Graham Baldwin's Register of Interest can be found here.


Graham is the Vice-Chancellor of Southampton Solent University and has been in post since August 2014.

Graham has worked in education for over 30 years with the majority of that time in the University sector. He was previously at the University of Central Lancashire where he undertook a number of senior-management roles, culminating in the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor. He also had a mid-career secondment into the nuclear industry where he worked as the National Skills Research Director for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

He is on the Board of Business South, the Universities and Colleges employers Association and the executive of Million Plus, the Association for Modern Universities. He previously chaired the Board of Kendal College and the boards of various charities and companies with a range of functions from a dental clinic to scientific consulting.

He has a First Degree in Sport Studies from the Madeley School of Physical Education, a Master’s Degree in Sports Science from Loughborough University and a Doctorate in Exercise Physiology from the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Wales, Bangor. He is a qualified teacher of Physical Education with a PGCE from the University of Wales.

He is an Honorary Professor at Hebei University and a Visiting Professor at the National Academy of Education Administration in Beijing. In 2014 Hebei Province, China conferred on him the title of ‘Outstanding Foreign Expert’. A lifelong sports enthusiast Graham played rugby until injury forced him to retire and turn to the gentler pursuit of cycling which he still does today. 


Solent LEP Business Director

Register of Interest

Kevin George's Register of Interest can be found here.


Kevin George has been the Chairman of the Red Funnel Group since January 2018, having spent 4 years previously as the Chief Executive Officer

Kevin has over 30 years’ experience in the transport sector having held senior management positions in a number of companies including British Airways and Monarch Airlines. An engineer by training, Kevin has worked extensively in business development, customer services and operations as well as leading a number of significant business transformations.

In December 2015, Kevin was appointed Chairman of Discover Ferries, the industry body that promotes ferry travel for all the UK operators. He also sits on the Board of the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce and is the Chair of Governors of the Isle of Wight Studio School.

Kevin is a keen sailor and lives in Cowes,  Isle of Wight with his wife Karen.


Solent LEP Local Authority Director

Register of Interest

Cllr Hammond's Register of Interest can be found here


Christopher Hammond is the current Leader of Southampton City Council and was elected to this role in May 2018.

He was first elected to Southampton City Council in 2013 representing Woolston and later joined the cabinet as portfolio holder for Transformation and then Sustainable Living. Christopher chaired the council’s Scrutiny Inquiry Panel in 2014, which explored the issue of and solutions to, Southampton’s air pollution problem.

Christopher currently serves as a Board Director on the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and is Cabinet Member for Environment at the Key Cities group.

He was born and raised in Dagenham, went to Bournemouth University and moved to Southampton after finishing his degree.

His career outside of politics included working for Nationwide Building Society in Governance and Risk Management at their Bournemouth and Swindon Headquarters. Christopher also worked as a Community Advocate at the Dorset Race Equality Council - a charity which seeks to empower black and minority ethnic communities. In 2018 he opened a restaurant in Southampton, his first business.

Outside of work, he’s served as a trustee of Southampton Advice and Representation Centre and sat on the Dorset Constabulary’s hate crime panel.

His personal interests include; environmental issues, technology, travel and fitness. 


Solent LEP Business Director

Register of Interest

Stuart Hill's Register of Interest can be found here.


Stuart Hill is the Operations Executive for the IBM UK & Ireland, Global Technology Services Business unit and the Location Executive for the North Harbour location. Stuart joined IBM in 1999 and spent the first 6 years of his IBM career in the United States in a variety of Finance & Operations roles. Prior to joining IBM Stuart, who trained in Production Engineering, held a number sales and general management roles in the Automotive and Defence Industries.

Following his career period with IBM in the US, Stuart returned to the UK, in 2005, and worked in two operations roles at a European level, reporting to the General Manger of IBM's NE European business - based first in the UK and then in 2007 in Zurich, Switzerland. In 2009, Stuart returned to the UK once more when he was appointed at the Operations Executive for the UK & Ireland business unit. and led the first two years of the UK wide Transformation programme.

Stuart is married to Naomi, also an IBM Executive and they have four children. The family live locally - in the village of Curdridge where Stuart is a Parish Councillor and active member of the village community. Stuart is a Governor of Highbury College and is one of the founder members of the Business Leader Group of the Shaping the Future of Portsmouth initiative. Stuart served 15 years in the Royal Navel Reserve where trained as a Navigating Officer. Stuart's hobbies include Motor Sports, tending his garden, music and reading.


Solent LEP Business Director

Register of Interest

SJ Hunt's Register of Interest can be found here.


SJ is CEO and Company Secretary of Parity Trust, a mortgage finance company that specialises in niche tenures for those that cannot access mainstream lending. Prior to that SJ ran her own consultancy business for ten years, following a successful career in Investment Banking. SJ is chair of Governors at Redwood Park School, a director of Solent Academies Trust, as well as a trustee of the D-Day Story and the Partnership Foundation. 


Solent LEP Business Director - SME Business Ambassador

Register of Interest

Brian Johnson's Register of Interest can be found here.


Brian is the UK Business Development Director at BAE Systems Maritime and works in Portsmouth Naval Base. He brings a wealth of private sector experience to his role as Board Director at the Solent LEP, with over 20 years' experience in the Marine and Maritime sector at organisations such as Thales, Marconi and the aforementioned BAE Systems. Brian was previously Chair of the Solent LEP Marine and Maritime Steering Group before joining the Solent LEP Board. Brian is also the Chair of the Maritime Defence and Security Group council of the Society of Maritime Industries.


Solent LEP Local Authority Director

Register of Interest

Cllr Mans' Register of Interest can be found here.


Cllr Keith Mans is a former RAF pilot who spent 10 years working for the John Lewis Partnership after leaving the RAF and before he entered parliament as the MP for Wyre in Lancashire in 1987 Whilst in Parliament Keith was PPS to the Sec of State for Health as well as being a member of both the Defence and the Environment Select Committees. After leaving Parliament in 1997 Keith was CEO of the Royal Aeronautical Society until his retirement in 2009.

Cllr Mans was elected to the County Council in 2009 and was previously Executive Member for Communities and External Relations. In addition to his Lead role in Children's Services he is also responsible for the Troubled Families Programme and liaison with the Armed Forces in the County. Outside the Council Keith is Chairman of the Oakhaven Hospice Trust and a Trustee of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Trust.


Solent LEP Executive Director

Register of Interest

Anne-Marie Mountifield's Register of Interest can be found here.


Anne-Marie Mountifield has been the Chief Executive and Board Director at the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for the last 7 years.

A member of the Institute of Directors, and the National Maritime UK Council she is also a 'Women in Maritime' ambassador.

Before taking up the role as Chief Executive at Solent LEP, Anne-Marie held senior executive leadership posts for more than 20 years in further education, the Civil Service (Department of Business Innovation and Skills) and local government.

An inspirational leader, Anne-Marie clearly conveys the vision for the Solent LEP and leads on the development of the strategy for the area and the roll out of the Solent £1bn Capital & Infrastructure programme.


Solent LEP Business Director

Register of Interest

Rachael Randall's Register of Interest can be found here.


Rachael is Principal and CEO of HTP Apprenticeship College Ltd which she established in the year 2000. Prior to that she was involved in Government funded training working for New Deal and a national apprenticeship provider. Her roots are also firmly based in the world of Hospitality, Tourism and Farming. She grew up on the Isle of Wight and has brought up 2 children and is married to Malcolm. She also owns Albert Cottage Hotel in East Cowes on the Island.


Solent LEP Local Authority Director

Register of Interest

Cllr Stewart's Register of Interest can be found here.


Dave Stewart is the current leader of the Isle of Wight Council.

His background is one of being an independent consultant and former police officer with over 30 years service. His broad range of knowledge and skills include operational experience as a senior detective (SIO) and as an internal complaint investigator within the Professional Standards Department (PSD). He is also a specialist in Leadership Development having been at the forefront of leadership training delivery at the National Police College, Bramshill, for over two years.

He is experienced at operating in both a policing & multi-agency environment having undertaking work for Leicestershire Police, Derbyshire Police, Bedfordshire Police, East Midlands Ambulance Service, Northamptonshire Police, Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health, Norfolk Police & Crime Commissioner, Hampshire Police and currently British Transport Police – work that has involved Coaching & Mentoring, Team Development and ,  facilitating bespoke leadership & change management workshops. These workshops have been tailored to need and post – event evaluation feedback consistently reflects a high level of satisfaction with his work and he is keen to continue to make a difference at all levels in the public and private sector.

Dave originates from the Isle of Wight (born in Brading and attended Sandown High School) and was for a period the Detective Inspector heading the Island CID. He has many local connections and recently worked with members of the Island Strategic Partnership. He is also aiming to develop opportunities to work with the members of the Island Community in the future, including service provision within the private sector.

Dave has been an Isle of Wight Councillor since 2011 and leader of the Conservative Group on the Isle of Wight Council since 2013. He was elected interim Council leader in January 2017 and re-elected Council leader for four years in May 2017. His interests include politics, adult education and family. He and his wife Maureen have four children and six grand children.


Solent LEP Business Director

Register of Interest

Paula Swain's Register of Interest can be found here


Paula Swain is a Partner in national law firm Shoosmiths LLP, and heads the firm’s southernmost office located at the Solent Business Park.

Through her professional practice, Paula has access to a broad array of businesses operating in the Solent region, and a key part of her role as a Head of Office is to support and monitor the economy of the Solent region.  Paula is particularly interested in how the development of 5G technology will assist the Solent region, together with new ventures from the region’s universities, smart manufacturing, maritime, aerospace and defence sectors.

A commercial litigator in her professional life, Paula is a supporting adviser and advocate for her clients across a broad range of disputes, and is a contributing author to Westlaw UK Insights. Paula read law at the University of Southampton, works in Whiteley and lives in Poole.  She appreciates both the economic and lifestyle aspects of the Solent region. Paula is a passionate supporter for growth in the region.


Solent LEP Local Authority Director

Register of Interest

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson's Register of Interest can be found here.


Gerald Vernon-Jackson was the Leader of Portsmouth City Council for ten years. He led the city through turbulent times but also where the city made real progress.

He pushed through a £1.45 million loan from the City Council to the Portsmouth Supporters Trust to enable them to buy the Football Club and stop it going into liquidation.

Under Gerald Vernon-Jackson’s Leadership the Liberal Democrats ran Portsmouth City Council for ten years (2004-2014). They found £5 million to build new school classrooms for an extra 1,000 pupils. They started building council houses for the first time in a generation. They saved the Kings Theatre and the New Theatre Royal from closing down. Gerald also spearheaded the campaign to get a World War Two War Memorial finally built in Portsmouth to commemorate the 3,000 Portsmouth citizens who lost their lives in the war.

He successfully worked to stop the last Labour Government pulling the Royal Navy out of Portsmouth when this was threatened in 2008. He campaigned to keep the carrier programme from being scrapped by the current Government. This will see the new carriers based in Portsmouth and the future of the Navy in Portsmouth guaranteed for the next 40 years. This will see thousands of jobs secured in the dockyard.

Gerald led the Portsmouth Liberal Democrats into running Portsmouth City Council once again in May 2018.

Current Council Positions

Leader of the Council

Chair of the Employment Committee

Member of the Health and Wellbeing Board

Standing Deputy for the Licensing Committee

Standing Deputy for the Planning Committee


Solent LEP Local Authority Director

Register of Interest

Cllr Woodward's Register of Interest can be found here.


Councillor Seán Woodward has been the Chairman of the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire since its inception in 2003 and Leader of Fareham Borough Council since 1999.  He is in his 33rd year as a Councillor and also serves on Hampshire County Council where he is the Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage.

Seán was educated at the University of Portsmouth where he gained a B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Biology as well as attaining Chartered Biologist status.  He spent 25 years working in the pharmaceutical industry and is currently the Managing Director of Ferneham Health Limited, a healthcare company which he formed in 2007 and which is currently trading as LBhealthcare based in Whiteley.  The company specialises in Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation.

He led South Hampshire through PUSH to its current status as a growth area and was delighted to be invited by government to form the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership following a successful private/public partnership bid involving the support of 70 businesses, 11 local authorities and 4 universities. He believes strongly that the economic recovery will be private sector led and that the concept of a local private/public partnership will be able to help create the improvements in skills, jobs, infrastructure and affordable housing that is so necessary to secure the prosperity of the Solent area and to build on the successful work that is being carried out by PUSH.

Through his previous Executive role on Hampshire County Council Seán set in train and made all of the key decisions to implement the £100m Access to Fareham and Gosport roads programme which is one of the biggest road investment programmes in memory.  It is setting in place the infrastructure needed for the 6,000 home new community of Welborne as well as supporting the Solent Enterprise Zone at Solent Airport@Daedalus which will enable the creation of thousands of advanced engineering jobs in the aviation, aerospace and marine sectors.


Solent LEP Business Director

Register of Interest

David Youngs Register of Interest can be found here.


David Youngs is the co-founder and Business Development Director of LiveLink Technology, based in Havant. David and his brother Geoffrey started the company in their parents’ garden shed on the Hampshire/West Sussex border and have steadily grown operations through recent years to over 100 staff across the UK, USA and India.

David has significant expertise in some of the disruptive technologies now transforming the global economy and the Solent. He is actively involved in several R&D projects including Computer Imaging, Aerospace and Artificial Intelligence. He has mentored a number of small companies, and also leads a new charitable program in West Sussex to support both start-ups and young people with employment, accommodation and mentoring as they start their adult working life.

David’s interests include Aviation, Sailing and Music – and most importantly his wife Philippa and their three young children.


Head of Finance and S151 Officer, Portsmouth City Council

Register of Interest

Chris Ward's Register of Interest can be found here.


Chris Ward is Portsmouth City Council’s statutory Chief Financial Officer. He has a duty to secure the proper administration of the Council’s financial affairs in all of its dealings as well as holding a fiduciary responsibility to local taxpayers and a duty to act in the public interest at all times. Chris is responsible for the Council’s overall financial strategy and for overseeing the Council’s £700m budget.

He has worked for the Council for 15 years, rising to his current position in September 2011. Before this, Chris spent 10 years with responsibility for Corporate Finance, Accountancy, Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable and throughout that period has been involved in, or been the financial lead, in almost every major project of the City Council. He is also a Director of MMD Limited, a fruit importing business which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the City Council.