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Board Biographies

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 published here.

Anne-Marie Mountifield

Solent LEP Executive Director

Register of Interest

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

Biography

Anne-Marie Mountifield has been the Chief Executive and Board Director at the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for the last 8 years.

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

In September 2020, Anne-Marie was announced as the winner of the prestigious New Chartered Director category at the Institute of Directors London and South’s annual Director of the Year Awards.

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.

Brian Johnson

Solent LEP Business Director and Solent LEP Chair

Register of Interest

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

LEP Roles

Chair - The Chair Role Profile can be found here

SME Business Ambassador

Business Director

Sector

Private Sector Representative

Biography

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 within the LEP Board, with over 20 years' experience in the Marine and Maritime sector at organisations such as Thales, Marconi and the aforementioned BAE Systems. Brian is also on the Board of the Society of Maritime Industries. Brian is the Solent LEP Chair and also represents and engages with the SME business community as our LEP Board SME Champion.

Chris Ward

Head of Finance and S151 Officer, Portsmouth City Council

Register of Interest

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

Biography

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.

David Youngs

Solent LEP Business Director

Register of Interest

David Youngs Register of Interest can be found here.

LEP Roles

Business Director*

Sector

Private sector representative

Biography

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.

 

*Independent Non-Executive Director as outlined in the Corporate Governance Code 2018

Paula Swain

Solent LEP Business Director

Register of Interest

Paula Swain's Register of Interest can be found here

LEP Roles

Business Director*

Sector

Private sector representative

Biography

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.

 

*Independent Non-Executive Director as outlined in the Corporate Governance Code 2018

Rachael Randall

Solent LEP Business Director

Register of Interest

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

LEP Roles

Business Director*

Skills Lead

Chair of Skills Advisory Panel

Chair of Search, Employment and Remuneration Committee

Careers Hub Panel member

Equality and Diversity Champion

Sector

Further Education

Biography

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.

 

*Independent Non-Executive Director as outlined in the Corporate Governance Code 2018

SJ Hunt

Solent LEP Business Director - Deputy Chair

Register of Interest

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

LEP Roles

Deputy Chair - The Deputy Chair role profile can be found here.

Business Director*

Chair of Finance, Funding and Performance Management Group

Chair of the Solent Business Task Force

Sector

Not-for-profit representative

Biography

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 a trustee of the D-Day Story, the Partnership Foundation and Portsmouth Rotary Housing Association.

 

 

*Independent Non-Executive Director as outlined in the Corporate Governance Code 2018

Graham Galbraith

Solent LEP Higher Education Director

Register of Interest

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

LEP Roles

Higher Education Director

Sector

Higher Education representative

Biography

Graham Galbraith has been Vice-Chancellor at the University of Portsmouth since 2013. Previous roles include Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire (2008-2013) and Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) at Glasgow Caledonian University (1993-2008).

In 2018 Graham was elected to the Universities UK Board; he also chairs its Longer Term Strategy Network. Graham is a member of the University Partnerships Programme Foundation Advisory Board, the Study Portals Advisory Board, EdTech Advisory Board for Higher and Further Education and is a Member of the Chartered Institution for Building Service Engineers. He has also been twice-elected to the Confederation of British Industry South East Regional Council. He holds Chartered Engineer status and Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

Graham has a wealth of management experience and a strong entrepreneurial outlook combined with a substantial record of academic achievement and a thorough understanding of the higher education (HE) sectors in the UK and overseas. He is passionate about HE and its power to transform the life choices of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds. He is committed to leading the University of Portsmouth to provide the very best student experience underpinned by internationally excellent research and world-class business engagement.

Nick Loader

Solent LEP Business Director

Register of Interest 

Nick Loader's Register of Interest can be found here. 

LEP Roles

Business Director*

FFPMG Member 

Sector

Private sector representative

Biography

Nick is the Chief Operating Officer for DP World’s UK businesses.

Nick graduated from the University of Bath in Economics and then qualified as a Chartered Accountant and later qualified as a Chartered Tax Adviser.

His first role in commerce was with McCarthy & Stone, builders of sheltered housing, but since then he has worked in the shipping and ports sector in various roles including for P&O Ferries Portsmouth and Carnival UK.

Nick joined DP World in 2005 as Finance Director in Southampton and in April 2016 he was appointed CEO of DP World Southampton

In 2018 the UK businesses of DP World at London Gateway and Southampton were brought together under a UK structure. Nick is now COO of DP World UK responsible for operations, engineering, safety and IT.

Outside of work Nick plays squash and golf and enjoys walking.

 

*Independent Non-Executive Director as outlines in the Corporate Governance Code 2018

Jo Sawford

Solent LEP Business Director

Register of Interest

Jo Sawford's Register of Interest can be found here.

LEP roles

Search, Employment and Remuneration Committee panel member

Biography

Jo Sawford is the Head of Payload Projects for Telecommunication Satellites within Airbus Defence & Space. She is accountable for the on-time, on-quality, on-cost delivery of the payload from Portsmouth.

Through her career, Jo has worked within the aerospace industry working within the aircraft and space perimeters. Having responsibility within the domains of commercial, contracts, sales, supply chain; now working within programme management. These roles have involved leading and working within transnational teams with a worldwide customer base in both military and civil markets.

In addition to this role, she also holds the post of Site Director. Jo has helped facilitate a positive improvement with the level of interaction between Airbus and the local community through activities such as Shaping Portsmouth, Pride@Portsmouth, “We can do it Awards” and also through extensive OUTREACH programmes including EBP South, Girls Network, UTC Portsmouth, Winchester Science Centre and local charities.

Jo passionately believes that in her position she has an opportunity to embrace change, encourage collaboration, and provide strategic direction for Airbus as a whole, as well as influencing the Company visibility in the Portsmouth area through support of local engagement. Jo’s work ethic is always to demonstrate commitment, support team-work, motivate a healthy working environment, as well as recognising potential growth and creativity of both individuals and teams.

 

Graham Barnetson

Solent LEP Business Director

Register of Interest 

Graham's Register of Interest can be found here. 

LEP Roles

Business Director 

Biography 

Graham, a Chartered Management Accountant, has over seventeen years’ experience in the retail, hospitality and logistics sectors and has held senior leadership positions in SMEs and multi-billion turnover businesses in these industries. He is also a member of the Leadership Team of the Southampton Chamber of Commerce.

A resident of Cowes on the Isle of Wight, Graham is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, Associate Fellow of the Nautical Institute and an Associate of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects.

Alison Wilson

Solent LEP Business Director

Register of Interest 

Alison's Register of Interest can be found here. 

LEP Roles

Business Director 

Biography 

Alison Wilson graduated with an honour’s degree in Business Studies. Her early career was in logistics with the National Freight Consortium. Working on some high-profile contracts including Harris Queensway, Argos and ICL, she went to run the prestigious BMW contract.

In 1992 she met her husband Chris Wilson, and they acquired their first business, the Rose and Crown Hotel in Tring. Alison ran the business as Proprietor/Manager for three years. In 1997 they acquired the Balmer Lawn Hotel, making Brockenhurst and the New Forest their home with three children. They have restored the Balmer Lawn and now employ a team of over 70 staff running the Four Silver Stars Balmer Lawn Hotel. Alison is involved in the wider hospitality industry with her role as Director for the Community interest Company, Go New Forest.

Her interests include walking, keeping fit and all pleasures attained from great food and drink.

Cllr Graham Burgess

Solent LEP Local Authority Director

Register of Interest 

Cllr Graham Burgess Register of Interest can be found here

LEP Roles

Solent LEP Local Authority Director

Biography

Graham moved to Lee on the Solent whilst serving in the Royal Navy as a Weapons Engineer serving on Trafalgar class submarines. After leaving the service, he returned as a Sonar Trials Officer before taking over as Head of the Ship Maintenance Data Centre in Portsmouth Dockyard.

He was elected as a Lee on the Solent Councillor in 1998 and is presently Leader of Gosport Borough Council.

He is also a Hampshire County Councillor for the Lee Division which covers Lee on the Solent and Grange. Graham was also the first person living in Lee on the Solent to be Chairman of Hampshire County Council in 2017-2018.

Lee on the Solent is a special place both to him and his family, as it is to most residents of Lee. Everyone seems to take an interest in the community and trying to improve it.

Cllr Dan Fitzhenry

Solent LEP Local Authority Director

Register of Interest 

Cllr Dan Fitzhenry Register of Interest can be found here. 

LEP Roles

Local Authority Director

Biography

Daniel Fitzhenry is the current Leader of Southampton City Council and was elected to this role in May 2020. He was first elected to Southampton City Council was first elected to Southampton City Council in May 2008 representing Harefield Ward. Daniel currently serves as a Board Director on the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and is a Strategic Board Member for Freeports working alongside the Cabinet Member for Growth. He was born and raised in Southampton, living here his whole life, creating and growing companies. His career outside of politics he provides consultancy advice and business development support to
companies. His personal interests include traveling and meeting people, whist enjoying subjects such philosophy, politics, economics, the universe & energy. He loves great food, beautiful buildings and cities, as well as reading & walking.

 

Cllr Edward Heron

Solent LEP Local Authority Director

Register of Interest 

Edward's Register of Interest can be found here. 

LEP Roles

Solent LEP Local Authority Director

Biography

Edward Heron lives in the New Forest with his wife and two children A Chartered Surveyor by profession he was elected to New Forest District Council in 2007, where he currently serves as Leader of the Council, and to Hampshire County Council in 2009, where he holds the position of Executive Member for Recreation, Heritage & Rural Affairs.

Cllr Lora Peacey Wilcox

Solent LEP Local Authority Director

Register of Interest 

Lora's Register of Interest can be found here.

LEP Roles

Solent LEP Local Authority Director

Biography

Lora Peacey Wilcox comes from a family which has lived in Cowes for generations.  “My Peacey side of the family dates back to 1783 (at the moment, need to do more research in Whippingham).  In 1855 our side moved to Cowes, where many family still remain. 

Lora was elected as a Town Councillor in 1999 and became actively involved in town life becoming chair of the Cowes Sea Cadets and the friends of Northwood cemetery among other local roles.  Lora has served as Mayor of Cowes for the last three years.  My passion for Cowes and the Island is of paramount importance to me.  Our Island is precious.  

Having served as an IW Councillor for almost 18 years, Lora has been responsible for housing and introduced the ‘local connection criteria’ to the legislation at housing.  She has worked to bring back empty homes into use.  In 2015 She was elected Vice Chairman of the Council and in 2017 she succeeded as Chairman of the Council, a role she held until May 2019.

In 2021, Lora was elected as Leader of the Isle of Wight Council. 

 

Cllr Ben Dowling

Solent LEP Local Authority Director

Register of Interest 

Ben's Register of Interest can be found here.

Biography 

Ben is Portsmouth born and bred. He went to local schools at Moorings Way Infant School, Meon Junior School and Mitoncross Academy. He attended Havant Sixth Form College whilst still living in Portsmouth and graduated in 2016 with a degree in Modern History and Politics from the University of Southampton.
Ben has been working from a young age; holding various roles throughout his education including as a Youth Adviser, IT Advisor, Student Ambassador and street canvasser. In 2013, Ben co-founded Unloc - a social enterprise with the mission to empower young people to be innovative changemakers who seek to build stronger communities and sustainable businesses. Unloc delivers engaging programmes for young people, in schools, colleges and other settings. Ben remains a co-director and integral member of the Unloc team.
Ben has been actively engaged with his local community since his school days. He has always got 'stuck in': helping with community fun days, his local community centre and his local neighbourhood forum. Because of this positive community work, Ben was elected to represent Milton Ward on Portsmouth City Council in 2014, at the age of 20. This made him one of the youngest councillors in the country at the time. He was subsequently re-elected in 2018 for a further 4 year term.
From May 2014 to May 2018, Ben was the Opposition Spokesperson for Planning, Regeneration & Economic Development (PRED). Upon the Liberal Democrats becoming the council administration in May 2018, he then became the Cabinet Member for PRED. In May 2019, Ben left the Cabinet to take the office of Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth. Due to changing personal circumstances, Ben chose not to take the natural step up to becoming Lord Mayor in 2020 and has

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