Prominent business leaders, Kevin George and Rachael Randall, have joined the LEP board of directors after being appointed by member businesses.
The Solent LEP board takes responsibility for shaping economic strategy in the region and delivery of a growth programme valued at over £1bn and supported by a £183m Local Growth Deal with government to create up to 600 new jobs and enable 11,000 new homes to be built.
The Solent LEP board is made up of business, education and local authority directors and was the first LEP in the country to have a fully elected board.
Kevin is the CEO of Red Funnel, the ferry operator that has linked Southampton and Cowes, for over 156 years. Prior to joining Red Funnel in January 2014, Kevin’s career was predominantly in aviation, including being the CEO of Monarch Airlines and also holding various senior roles in British Airways with a focus on business development and customer service.
Kevin brings a wealth of experience from the travel and tourism sector with specialist knowledge of the marine and maritime industry; the Solent's largest and most productive sector.
Rachael Randall is CEO and Managing Director of Isle of Wight based HTP Apprenticeship College, one of the leading training providers in England. Alongside experience establishing a business on the Isle of Wight, Rachael brings a deep understanding of the local and national skills system to the LEP Board and will take a lead role on the LEPs Employment and Skills agenda.
The geographic attributes of the Solent, together with its heritage and established skills base, enable the Solent to compete on an international stage in the global marine and maritime market place. The sector is critical to economic development on the Isle of Wight and across the entire Solent region and I am looking forward to working with colleagues at the LEP ensure that we continue to lead the way nationally and internationally for the benefit of local businesses here in the Solent.
I founded HTP Apprenticeship College on the Isle of Wight 17 years ago and, since then, have established the business as one of the best training providers in the country. Through this journey, I have seen first-hand both the challenges and opportunities faced when running a business on the Island and am looking forward to bringing this experience to the LEP Board as we work to support more businesses to start and grow on the Island, and across the whole Solent area, in the months ahead.
Gary Jeffries, Solent LEP chairman, said:
We are delighted to welcome Kevin and Rachael to the board. Our Members have elected two top business people with outstanding and wide ranging experience. These appointments will add to existing expertise on our board and bring new experience to drive forward two of our key priorities: investment in skills and the marine and maritime economy. I am also delighted that our members have appointed a fourth female director to join the Board. We are committed to having a Board which embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity within the Solent economy and, whilst we know there is more to do, over a quarter of our Board is now made up of inspirational women in leading roles across both the public and private sector.
Further information on all Solent LEP Board Members is available here.