Race on for top job as Sheffield City Region LEP chair retires

LEP chair James Newman is retiring from the top job after five years.
LEP chair James Newman is retiring from the top job after five years.
Have your say

The search is on to find the next leader of Sheffield City Region’s business department after James Newman announced plans to retire.

The chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership is set to stand down in the autumn after five years at the helm.

Already, high profile figures with the right contacts are being approached to apply for the role - which is currently unpaid.

Mr Newman will be involved in choosing his successor but the final decision will be made by a panel of LEP colleague, in September.

As chair, the former Master Cutler was instrumental in establishing the LEP in 2010 with no funding when the coalition Government scrapped regional development agency Yorkshire Forward.

The organisation - one of 39 across the country - is a collaboration between council chiefs and unpaid business leaders, with staff from local authorities and public bodies.

Now, it is seen as one of the best in the country and has won one of only three devolution deals from government giving powers over areas including skills, business growth, infrastructure, transport and housing, backed by a £300m Growth Deal.

He said: “It’s been a good experience, it’s gone well. The LEP is arguably one of the top two or three in the country in a region which is the ‘wrong’ political colour for the Government.

“I have been helped by some very good, committed private sector people and leaders and chief executives of councils.

“There’s still a lot to achieve economically but we only got our Growth Deal money in April.

“The programmes we have done have put us ahead of the game. My successor will have to ensure they continue to work for the public and private sectors.”

The job was envisaged as being half-a-day a week, but takes up two or three, he added.

He stayed on for an extra year at the request of LEP colleagues. But a second three-year term - eight years in total - would be too long.

“I’m comfortable about going. I put my non-executive career on hold.”