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Solent LEP Team

Portsmouth City Council are the Accountable Body for the Solent LEP and details of staff salaries are published in line with Portsmouth City Council's policy and can be viewed here. The Scheme of Delegation for the Solent LEP Executive Team can be found here.

Richard Jones

Acting Chief Executive

Register of Interest

Richard Jones' Register of Interest can be found here


Richard was appointed Acting Chief Executive for the Solent LEP in August 2023. Having joined the Solent LEP in 2011, with the board still in shadow form, he has held a number of roles within the LEP including Head of Policy, Communications and Partner Engagement, Assistant Director of Corporate Governance and Communications and Deputy Chief Executive.

Richard leads the LEP’s operational delivery and is responsible for the overall investment programme, driving the development and transformation of the Solent LEP in its ambition to create a dynamic, vibrant, inclusive and internationally competitive region.

Richard holds two degrees; a BA in Media and Sociology from the University of London and an MA in Political Communications from Cardiff University. With the exception of time spent away at University, Richard has lived in the Solent region his entire life.

Stuart Baker

Business Development Director

Register of Interest

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


Stuart joined the Solent LEP in 2013 and carried out the role of Assistant Director of Strategy and Programme Development until 2021 when he was appointed Business Development Director.  Stuart is also Managing Director of Maritime UK Solent, the private sector-led economic cluster partnership, backed by the Solent LEP, which launched as a limited company in September 2021.

As Business Development Director at the LEP, Stuart leads on all aspects of the Solent LEP's economic Strategy, including skills, business support, sector development, innovation and environment.

Maritime UK Solent is the regional arm of Maritime UK and works to bring together the Solent region’s maritime strengths and assets to champion and promote the region as a globally significant maritime cluster. It aims to encourage investment, support maritime businesses, drive innovation, pioneer clean and green technology in the industry, and develop a talent base for the future.  Stuart sits on the regional council for Maritime UK and is a past chair.

Prior to joining the LEP, Stuart worked in Local Government, primarily in Transport Planning.  He managed Solent Transport, a partnership of the Local Highway Authorities of the Solent area and has an MSc. in Transport Planning and Management.


Becky Lawler

Solent Growth Hub Admin Co-ordinator

Register of Interest 

Becky's register of interest an be viewed here.


Becky joined the Solent LEP in 2019 after 3 years working with the Solent Growth Hub to assist SME’s in the region to access funding and support.   Previous to this Becky has worked in Evaluation and monitoring, reconciliations within the financial services industry and has gained varied skills in customer service focused roles.

Becky moved to the area from Buckinghamshire to gain a BA hons in Photography from Solent University and has remained in the Solent area ever since.

Chloe Giles

Enterprise Co-ordinator

Register of Interest

Chloe's Register of Interests can be viewed here


Chloe joined the Solent LEP in November 2018 coming from a background of working with education and employers. Chloe started her career undertaking an Apprenticeship in Business and has now worked within the careers and education sector for over 7 years.

Chloe will be using her knowledge and experience to engage with a number of schools and colleges across the Solent area to help build relationships between education and employers to support the skills gap and help prepare young people for the world of work.

Chris Heath

Local Growth Project Manager (Capital and Infrastructure)

Register of Interest

Chris Heath's Register of Interest can be found here 


Chris joined Solent LEP in April 2017 as Programme Officer responsible for European Funding.

Prior to joining the Solent LEP, Chris had worked for a number of years in the Civil Service at the Land Registry. His more recent roles involved working at a local law firm in the Portsmouth area as well as international and local law firms in London. As an Office Manager for a law firm in London Chris took a lead role in business development. Chris's expertise lies in audits and compliance to ensure exacting legislative standards and scheme requirements, for example Law Society Quality Standards, Investors in People, are met whilst identifying areas and actions for improvement to improve business efficiency.

Chris has lived in the Solent area since 1989.

Chris took up the position of Local Growth Project Manager (Capital and Infrastructure) in October 2018

James Ford

Head of Enterprise and Skills

Register of Interest

James Ford's Register of Interest can be found here.


James joined the Solent LEP in April 2018 as Business Engagement and Growth Hub Manager, and was appointed Head of Enterprise and Skills in 2021. Before joining the LEP James was Business development Manager at Southampton Football Club and was responsible for sourcing and activating new partnerships with both small and large employers. James`s Previous roles included Project Manager & Mobilisation Manager and Head of Apprenticeships and Employability, whereby James was responsible for the implementation of new contracts, Business engagement and operational delivery across numerous regions throughout England.

Prior to this James was a professional football player with AFC Bournemouth and Personal trainer, having set up and created his own business.

James Fitzgerald

Corporate Finance Specialist Portsmouth City Council (Accountable Body to Solent LEP)

Register of Interest
James Fitzgerald's Register of Interest Return can be found here.

LEP roles

Member of Business Support Investment Panel


James is the nominated Value for Money Officer and lead for Risk Management at Portsmouth City Council in their role as accountable body to the Solent LEP.

Jayne Sime

Solent LEP Growth Hub

Register of Interest

Jayne Sime's Register of Interest can be found here.


Jayne joined the Solent LEP in 2018 after 3 years working with the Solent Growth Hub to assist SME’s in the region to access funding and support.  Previously, Jayne has held business development roles within both the publishing and recruitment industries.

Jayne holds a degree in English Literature and Philosophy from the University of Hertfordshire, and has gained valuable experience creating and running her own business.

As a team leader at the Solent LEP, Jayne is experienced in the management and delivery of funded support programmes. Jayne works closely with organisations across the public and private sectors to ensure that the business support eco-system works effectively, efficiently and collaboratively.

Lauren Hartley

Corporate Governance and Compliance Manager

Register of Interests

Lauren's Register of Interest can be found here.


Lauren joined Solent LEP as Corporate Governance and Compliance Manager in October 2019 and has over 16 years' experience of working in compliance and governance roles in the private sector. Previous roles have included the development and implementation of policy frameworks, forward-looking regulatory radars, holistic Risk Management and the management of outsourcing and due diligence.

Lauren's role assists in managing the LEP's statutory and constitutional framework, via management of the LEP's formal decision-making sub-panels and wider strategic advisory forums. She provides guidance and advice to panel and forum members, ensuring that all decisions are taken appropriately and support the transparency agenda for LEPs nationally.

Lauren lives on the Isle of Wight with a young family and is committed to the growth of the region.

Kate Cloud

Acting Head of Corporate Services and Performance

Register of Interest

Kate Cloud's Register of Interest can be found here


Kate joined the team as Local Growth Programme Manager: Capital and Infrastructure in September 2018. Since that time Kate has managed Local Growth Deal, Getting Building Fund and other small funding pots. Along with the Delivery team, Kate has developed a robust monitoring and reporting process to ensure beneficiaries and Board members alike understand how projects are progressing, and our role as funders.

Kate spent 16 years in local authority economic development teams supporting businesses directly as well as providing a voice for businesses within Councils.  

Kate has a degree in Geography and Rural Planning from the University of Gloucestershire, and is a Member of the Institute of Economic Development.  She has lived in Hampshire for much of her life and enjoys spending leisure time in the Solent region with her young family.


Darren Coventry

Strategic Lead for Careers

Register of Interest 

Darren's Register can be found here.


Darren joined the Solent LEP in February 2022 as Strategic Lead for Careers. Before joining the LEP Darren was a member of the senior management structure at Eastleigh College with Apprenticeships, Traineeships and Subcontracted leadership as his main responsibilities. He has experience in leading curriculum teams as well as business development, work experience, careers and administration functions of an FE College. Prior to moving into the education sector he held mid-senior level management positions with several multi-national organisations in supply chain management and operational roles.

Maz Garside

Marketing Communications Officer

Register of Interest

Maz Garside's Register of Interest can be found here.


Maz joined the Solent LEP in January 2019 as the Marketing Communications Officer with the key aim of strengthening and developing stakeholder relations. With over 20 years' experience in communications and stakeholder planning, Maz has worked in the social housing and higher education sectors. In her last role with Southampton City Council, she led on communications associated with air quality projects. Maz has a Masters in Communication & Language and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

Nicola Twiddy

Office Manager and PA

Register of Interest

Nicola Twiddy's Register of Interest can be found here.


Nicola joined the Solent LEP in February 2013, as Personal Assistant to Anne-Marie Mountifield, Chief Executive of the Solent LEP. In 2015 Nicola became the Solent LEP's Office Manager and PA to Anne-Marie Mountifield.

Prior to joining the LEP team, Nicola held a number of roles in the Financial Service Industry, including supporting a team of Independent Financial Advisers and Regional Managers at The Royal Bank of Scotland for the previous 10 years.  Nicola holds a degree in Business Studies.

Naomi Smy

Operational Hub Lead

Register of Interest 

Naomi's Register of Interest can be found here.


Naomi joined the LEP in March 2022 from the Isle of Wight Education Federation as a Careers Leader and Careers Adviser. With over 17 years of experience in careers and education, Naomi has worked in different positions and work environments including schools, sixth forms and the prison service. Naomi brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from state-funded establishments that can support, benefit and develop within the Solent LEP.

Naomi has Level 6 qualifications in Careers Leadership and Careers Guidance & Education.

Lorna Wagner

Programme Manager, Maritime UK Solent

Register of Interest 

Lorna's Register of Interest can be found here. 


Lorna is Programme Manager at Maritime UK Solent, the industry-led body that champions the Solent’s world leading maritime cluster. Lorna's primary responsibilities include the growth of the business network and stakeholder engagement. Prior to this appointment she led the Maritime UK national careers programme. Lorna has developed a large network of maritime sector leaders and is able to call on this to support work programmes. Lorna is adept at identifying opportunities to promote the sector and support maritime businesses.

Alison Taylor

Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Programme Manager

Register of Interest 

Alison's Register of Interest can be found here. 


Alison joined the Solent LEP in March 2021 to lead the marketing and communications service, and to develop and implement the Solent LEP stakeholder engagement strategy. Alison brings experience from both the private and public sector, most recently in local government communications with over 15 years at Hampshire County Council where she led on strategic communications campaigns across a range of issues.

Nicky Smith

Senior Enterprise and Skills Executive

Register of Interest 

Nicky's Register of Interest can be found here.


Nicky was appointed to the role of Senior Enterprise and Skills Executive in November 2020 prior to which she specialised in recruiting crew for the cruise industry.  

Nicky also spent 8 years working with various training providers, supporting young people through apprenticeships and employability programmes.  She has had various roles including an Apprenticeship assessor and an Apprenticeship and Employability manager where she managed a team of business development officers and a sales team to find apprenticeship placements and recruit candidates to fill the roles.

Prior to this Nicky was a Food and Beverage manager for both the Holiday Inn and Hilton brands and has had her own business in the hospitality industry.

Larni Harris

Enterprise and Skills Executive

Register of Interest 

Larni's Register of Interest can be found here.


Larni joined the LEP in 2022, in partnership with Southampton City Council as Enterprise & Skills Executive, supporting Southampton schools in the Solent Careers Hub. This is Larni's second time working with the Solent LEP and the Enterprise Adviser Network, having been part of the Enterprise Coordinator team between 2016 and 2019. Larni has also spent a number of years working in Human Resources, particularly within the Hospitality & Catering Sector, with a keen interest in learning & development, and workforce planning, recently studying a Level 5 CIPD Award in Human Resources Management. Larni is looking forward to incorporating her industry experience with her passion for careers education, to support schools in preparing and inspiring young people for the world of work.

Chloe Bolton

Enterprise and Skills Executive

Register of Interest 

Chloe's Register can be found here.


Chloe Joined the LEP in April 2022 in partnership with Portsmouth City Council as Enterprise and Skills Executive for the Portsmouth area. In her role she works with schools and colleges across Portsmouth, to support them with their careers provision and employer engagement. To do this, Chloe also liaises with local employers and providers to build strong relationships across the city.

Lisa Fox

Enterprise and Skills Executive

Register of Interest

Lisa Fox's Register of Interest can be found here.


Lisa joined the Solent LEP in September 2022 to support schools across the New Forest and Eastleigh with their careers programmes.

Lisa has spent most of her career in the Education sector. She is a qualified TAQA Apprenticeship Trainer, has delivered Apprenticeship training with Independent, Employer and Further Education providers and supported individuals in the development of their career paths.

Rich Burn

Digital Skills Partnership Manager

Register of Interest 

Rich's Register of Interest can be found here.


Rich joined the Solent LEP in January 2023 as Digital Skills Partnership Manager as part of a Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport pan region collaboration across the Catalyst South region. His role brings together charities, schools, universities and tech companies to create awareness and support the Digital Skills gap agenda. Before joining the LEP, Rich was Strategic Partnerships Manager for WSX Enterprise and held a variety of positions for the Dorset Growth Hub since its inception in 2014 covering roles such as Business Navigator, Marketing Manager and Digital Delivery Manager. Rich was also the lead bid writer for WSX Enterprise and responsible for their leading successful award winning bids in 2021/2022 and led an internal Digital Delivery Team developing resources and tools for the UK SME business support sector. Rich also setup the Dorset Marketing Leaders Forum and has held board roles for the likes of Dorset Food & Drink CIC. Previous roles included Delivery Manager for Prospects creating and delivering training programmes for a government backed skills programme. Rich was in sales & marketing roles following his degree in Business & Marketing at Bristol Business School.

Zoë Colbeck

Project Manager, The Solent Cluster

You can view Zoe's Register of Interest here.

Zoë joined the Solent LEP in March 2023 to provide a focal point for The Solent Cluster activity and help drive the vision for the Solent to become a leading centre for low carbon investment.

Zoë has extensive experience in climate change mitigation and sustainability projects in the heritage and conservation sector and is driven to make a difference for communities and the planet. In previous roles, Zoë developed, executed and led funding plans for sustainable projects, engaged and influenced various stakeholders, and represented high profile organisations across broadcast and live events.

Katie Bruce

Employer Engagement Enterprise Coordinator

Katie joined the LEP in August 2023 from an Academy school in the Eastleigh area, as a Careers and Work Related Learning Leader and Careers Adviser. With over 16 years of experience in work related learning, careers and education, Katie has worked in various careers roles and work environments including schools and sixth forms.

Katie brings her knowledge and experience that can support, benefit and develop within the Solent LEP.

Katie has Level 7 qualifications in Careers Leadership and Level 6 in Careers Guidance & Education.


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