CWDP moves forward on Gateway Development


The Coventry and Warwickshire Development Partnership has been given the green light to create a major new development in the West Midlands.

Warwick District Council and Coventry City Council have both given planning consent for the creation of Coventry and Warwickshire Gateway, which could lead to the delivery of up to 14,000 jobs for the region.

The Gateway scheme includes a new technology hub on land north of Coventry Airport and a manufacturing/logistics hub to the south as well as carrying out major road improvements to ease congestion and improve access around Jaguar Land Rover’s premises at Whitley Business Park.

There is a clear and identified shortfall of suitable sites for occupiers to locate to within Coventry and Warwickshire and The Gate way has been backed by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership as a key priority for economic growth in the area.

The development would also promote the creation of enhanced habitat for wildlife and accessible open space around the edge of the site.

The scheme has been designed to dovetail with the Highways Agency’s £110 million Toll Bar junction improvements in September this year, which will alleviate a long-standing traffic bottleneck which has been seen as a barrier to economic growth.


Sale of SDG to Tech Data


Having recorded the strongest financial performance in its 37-year history, Europe’s largest privately owned technology group, Specialist Computer Holdings (SCH) plc, has agreed to sell its distribution arm, Specialist Distribution Group (SDG) to Tech Data Corporation securing its continued growth and success under a parent with a single focus and greater geographical spread.

SCH will reinvest the deal consideration in its technology, solutions and services brand, SCC, clearly positioning the brand as the partner of choice for European mid-sized companies and government bodies and so accelerating SCC's investment strategy and market positioning.

Whilst SCH has remained committed to the growth and development of its distribution businesses, SDG, we have been increasingly aware of the market drive around consolidation: vendors increasingly wanting less partners who are more specialist and focused on their core business. At the same time, SCH has been increasingly conscious of being the last global hybrid organisation, with its unique challenges of successfully executing growth and expansion strategies around a major distribution brand co-existing with a technology solutions and services provider.

"SCH has successfully operated both SDG and SCC for 25 years. With a consolidating channel, the opportunity to maximise our return on investment and deploy a single focused strategy with SCC has become more apparent explains Group Chairman and Chief Executive, Sir Peter Rigby, who continues:

"Having engaged with Tech Data, SCH has come to view the disposal of SDG as a fantastic opportunity where its unique strengths can be better developed within a global parent with distribution as its core focus. The deal offers the opportunity to unleash the potential of the next stage of SDG’s evolution and provides unrivalled opportunities for career progression and growth.

Most importantly, the deal enables SCH to concentrate on high margin segments of the technology industry, including Storage, Intelligent Networks, Virtualisation, Data Centre technologies and the Cloud through its technology, solutions and services brand, SCC. "The deal accelerates investment into the next stage of SCC’s evolution. For the first time in the Group’s history there is a single focus and concentration on what has always been our core business. The deal enables immediate release of capital to bring forward SCC’s next phase of growth.

This is an exciting time in the development of our business and it has taken much careful thought and consideration to decide to devolve a part of our business which has been built and created from scratch and driven to international status and acclaim. However, we believe that the timing is right to put SDG into the hands of one of the global players in the intensively competitive segment of distribution which SDG trades in. Likewise we plan to enhance the scale and capability of SCC significantly and to take it to the top rank in its chosen areas of activity.

We have chosen to make this fundamental change at a time when the business is in its best shape ever from a Group perspective, despite the difficult trading and economic conditions in most of the territories in which we operate."

Furthermore James Rigby SCC's Managing Director stated,

"Our clear strategy is to position SCC as the Technology and Cloud Solutions partner of choice for mid-sized companies and government organisations. We see huge potential in the market opportunity which sits between global SI’s and local players, where there are few quality partners in that space who have our range and depth."


Appointment of Sir Peter to Chairman of LEP


Sir Peter Rigby is to be the new chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Sir Peter, one of Europe’s leading entrepreneurs, was voted in as chairman of the partnership – set-up by the government to boost the local economy – a fortnight ago but wanted time to see how his nomination was received by the business community.

But now Sir Peter, whose firm SCH is the largest privately-owned IT group in Europe and the fifth largest privately-owned company in the UK, has accepted the post and is relishing the challenge.

He said: "I have been involved in the LEP since day one and feel very strongly that it offers a real opportunity for this area to help build a stronger economy for the benefit of everyone.

"It has made a good start in several areas but there is a great deal of work to be done if we are to ensure that the LEP helps Coventry and Warwickshire realise its undoubted potential.

"I wanted time to see what the feedback of my possible appointment would be and I have been very encouraged by the level of support.

"As I have become more involved in Coventry and Warwickshire my belief that it has a very positive economic outlook and that business has to play a part in driving that forward, has only grown.

"I was very pleased to be asked to be LEP chair and am more than happy to use my experience to help all parties achieve the common goals and aims they are striving towards."

Sir Peter has outlined his plans for the LEP to fellow board members.

They include establishing a formal constitution for the LEP, moving to appoint a new and dedicated CEO, mobilising support and action from within the public sector at a local and national level and securing on-going finance for the LEP.

He is also keen to review the make-up of the board and reaffirm the LEPs goals.

He added: "Everyone around the boardroom table has a vested interest in the area. That is the nature of every LEP across the country, and of most boards in most business. The key thing is that they are managed properly.

"I see having a board which is fully engaged in the economy as only a positive thing."

Sir Peter’s appointment was welcomed by Martyn Hollingsworth, CW LEP Board Member, and Director, Engineering Technical Services, at Jaguar Land Rover.

He said: "Following the very successful establishment of the CWLEP I am pleased to welcome Sir Peter as chair for a year.

"His skills and experience will help steer the LEP through the next phase of development to become a strong, independent, private sector-led body focused on creating jobs and opportunity in Coventry and Warwickshire."

George Gillespie, CEO of MIRA and member of the LEP board, said:

"It is very good news that Sir Peter wants to lead the LEP. LEPs are private sector-led organisations and Sir Peter is a figure of international standing in commerce and business.

"The fact that he wants to drive forward the aspirations and aims of Coventry and Warwickshire and is committed to helping the LEP be a key force will certainly give us added strength.