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.