LEADING lawyer Neil McLean has been appointed chairman of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership's board.
Mr McLean is to retire as managing partner of law firm DLA Piper in Leeds at the end of April, although he will continue to work with the firm in an advisory capacity.
Local enterprise partnerships between local authorities and business are the bodies replacing regional development agencies, including Yorkshire Forward.
Prominent lawyer Mr McLean has served on the Leeds Skills Board, is a director of the Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and is chairman of the board of governors of Leeds City College.
Mr McLean will now lead the recruitment of the Leeds LEP's board members. The board will be responsible for developing the business case for the local enterprise partnership, deliver the partnership’s proposals and oversee the process to a fully operational status.
It is anticipated that the board will be fully operational by April 2011.
Mr McLean said: “The new partnership will bring along the opportunity to prove the difference private and public sector collaboration can really make to our economies at these difficult times.
"I am very happy that I’ve been given the opportunity to represent the private sector as the chair of the board and I am looking forward to contribute to the development of the new partnership."
Mr McLean's appointment was welcomed today.
Coun Steve Houghton, chairman of the Leeds City Region leaders board, said: “I am delighted to welcome Neil on board. Neil will bring along years of experience working in the private sector and great expertise in economic regeneration and commerce.
“Neil has a clear understanding of the needs of our economy and will be a valuable asset in the transition to the new partnership and in developing the future direction of the LEP.”
Gary Williamson, chief executive of Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This announcement is great news for the city region business community.
“Neil’s background and extensive experience will help the partnership to better understand the needs of our businesses and provide an insight into the challenges they face."
Coun Andrew Waller, chairman of the Leeds City Region housing panel and leader of the City of York Council, said: “This is a brand new start and the partnership will have an essential role in creating the conditions for employment generation and seeding new businesses in emerging industries right across the city region."
Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, said: “Neil is a distinguished member of the business community with a great background both on small and large business environments and with all round expertise that can help the partnership support private sector recovery efficiently and effectively."
Andrew Palmer, CBI Yorkshire and the Humber director, said: “The CBI is happy to see the Leeds City Region LEP appoint a business leader to chair its board. This is the beginning of a long process in the forming of LEPs and securing significant, long term business engagement will play an important role in their success.”
The Leeds City Region LEP, which was one of 24 along with Sheffield approved nationwide by Business Secretary Vince Cable last October, brings together a group of 11 local authorities (Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire County Council) with businesses and partners to support economic growth across the city region.
Source : the business desk