A search is being launched for inspirational, strategic business leaders to help shape the future economic growth of the Marches region.

The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership is recruiting for a new chair and private sector board members to guide the organisation’s next phase of work across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

Current chair Mandy Thorn MBE DL will step down next year after helping the LEP, which also runs the Marches Growth Hub business support service, to deliver significant growth and job creation across the region.

Chief executive Rachel Laver said the LEP had established a first-class public/private sector partnership which “approaches business growth and local regeneration in a positive and commercial manner.”

“We are looking for people with a strong business acumen, who are also politically astute and can represent the Marches at the highest level.

“A new chair and new board members will be helping the LEP navigate a period of change as government focuses on delivering the levelling up agenda and devolution deals. We are looking for people who will champion the Marches and the businesses which start and thrive here.

“Mandy Thorn has been an amazing ambassador for the Marches and has guided the LEP as it has delivered significant growth for the three local areas, working in partnership with private, public and academic partners.

“Mandy will not be stepping down until Spring 2023 and we are starting the recruitment process now to allow for a six month handover period. The two new board members will be appointed to start their term in July this year.”

Due to under–representation on the current board, the LEP is particularly welcoming expressions of interest from business leaders/board level directors and business people in under-represented groups such as BAME, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities.

Interested business leaders should also have knowledge or expertise in the region’s industry, ideally this will include key areas such as advanced manufacturing & engineering, including food and drink manufacturing & processing; Renewable energy /environmental technology; cyber security & resilience, health and social care, construction/housing and tourism.

Applicants are being asked to detail how the LEP can continue to be the voice of businesses and be further developed over the next 18 months in light of the Levelling Up White Paper as part of the recruitment process.