Six new members bring more diverse backgrounds and experiences to LEP board

October 17, 2019

The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has refreshed its board – and addressed a major gender imbalance – by recruiting six new business leaders to help it shape the economic future of the region.

The six senior businesses leaders – five of them women – work across a range of sectors and come from a range of backgrounds. All have substantial experience of driving growth in the region.

In January the LEP announced it was seeking to recruit new board members and called for applications from senior business leaders from diverse backgrounds with regional industry expertise.

At that time women made up just two of the 18-strong board. Following the new arrivals, there are now eight women on the board, which has been increased to 20 members.

The board is made up of the leaders of the West of England’s four local authorities – in Bristol’s case that is its elected mayor – along with the regional metro mayor and business representatives.

Katharine Finn, a senior partner at accountancy giant PwC’s Bristol office, and lawyer Marti Burgess have remained as members while a change of political control at Bath & North East Somerset Council means Lib-Dem group leader Dine Romero is now a member.

The new members are:

  • Natasha Swinscoe, chief executive officer of the West of England Academic Health Science Network
  • Heather Cooper, chief people officer at Bristol-based finance services firm Hargreaves Lansdown
  • Margot Day, global director for risk and commercial law for Bath-based global engineering consultancy Buro Happold
  • Zoe Metcalfe, director of engineering consultancy Ove Arup & Partners’ Bristol-based Consulting West Group
  • Joanne Rumley, partner in law firm Foot Anstey’s corporate team in Bristol and a board member of both the Insolvency Lawyers’ Association and the Turnaround Management Association
  • Richard Bonner, UK operations director and Bristol city executive of global design, engineering and management consulting Arcadis. He is also president of Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative and a director of Business West.

West of England LEP chair Prof Steve West said: “All our new members are inspirational and influential senior business leaders who have the credibility to help us champion the West of England at regional, national and international level.

“Our aim is to build a LEP board membership that secures a range of attributes, skills and backgrounds. We are committed to reflecting and using the diversity across our region; providing the broad mix of senior leadership required to ensure the continued success and growth of the West of England.

“Our refreshed LEP board will be central to driving forward our ambitious vision for the West of England set out in the Local Industrial Strategy, working in partnership with others. The future is ours to create – we have the opportunity to become a global gateway for innovation, creativity and tech test beds.”

The LEP board meets six times a year, including one public meeting. Membership is for a minimum of 18 months or a maximum of three years – terms are agreed on appointment of the member. All the business roles are voluntary.

Pictured: The LEP’s new board members, from left: Richard Bonner, Heather Cooper, Margot Day, Natasha Swinscoe, Zoe Metcalfe and Joanne Rumley



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