Brain Johnson, our Deputy Chair will take on the role of Chair, on an interim basis after Gary Jeffries, the current officeholder's six year term comes to a close on 28 February 2020.
Brian is the UK Business Development Director at BAE Systems Maritime and works in Portsmouth Naval Base, bringing a wealth of private sector experience to his interim role. Additional to this role he is also the Business Ambassador for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) across the Solent region.
Gary and Brian have been working together on the LEP Board of Directors for the last five years, and they will continue to do so until Gary's departure in February, as the existing Chair and Deputy Chair respectively. Keen to lead the plaudits for Gary who has led the LEP through a successful tenure as Chair, Brian said:
"Gary has been an excellent Chair and I have been particularly impressed by his strong leadership in managing our diverse Board of directors. As our Chair he has engaged with the local public, private and academic communities, and has brought together partners from across a host of backgrounds for the benefit of the area.
On a personal level I would like to thank him for all that he has done, and to applaud him on behalf of the region, as he has fully embraced the challenges that the role of Chair has brought with it, showing a strong commitment to the LEP and to our economy."
We are currently seeking applications from business leaders to take on the role of Chair on a permanent basis.
Gary, who is the Regional Managing Partner for property consultants Vail Williams’ Solent region, following the merger of Hughes Ellard and Vail Williams in mid-2018, said:
"I have enjoyed working with ministers, businesses, international trade visitors and a whole raft of people that the role has led me to. I would like to thank the hard work of all of the Board Directors who give their time voluntarily in the interests of the Solent region.
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.
While there remains much more to do to realise this potential, there is a bright future ahead and I would strongly encourage any business leaders who share this passion for the future of the Solent to apply for this unique and exciting role."