Appointment of new Chief Executive

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership is delighted to announce its new chief executive, David Ralph, who will be starting on 4 June, taking over from the outgoing Chief Executive, Chris Garcia, who is retiring after leading the LEP for the last five years.

David brings high calibre expertise to this role, having previously led the D2N2 LEP as Chief Executive for five years. Over this period he translated the area’s strategic economic plan into real delivery on the ground; this experience will be hugely valuable leading our LEP as the role and influence of LEPs increase nationally.

With more than 20 years at the helm of public, private and community-led organisations in London, Bristol and most recently the East Midlands, David has been at the forefront of delivering some impressive transformational and successful regeneration and economic development programmes.

David Ralph said: “LEPs have played an important role in the recovery of the economy following the recession, and I look forward to working with the stakeholders across this exciting area to strengthen HotSW LEP’s place in delivering the country’s Industrial Strategy.

“I will be making renewed partnerships a priority to unite the public, private, education and social enterprise sectors with a common voice to make ourselves heard in Westminster and on an international stage; particularly when it comes to attracting investment and strategic backing. The Heart of the South West is a very distinctive area with many strengths as well as challenges and I am really looking forward to my new role”

Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, Steve Hindley CBE DL, said: “I look forward to welcoming David and developing our ideas on the area’s priorities and opportunities. The role of LEPs is increasing as we become firmly aligned with the delivery of the government’s Industrial Strategy. Our funding is secured for at least another two years, and we’ll now have regular meetings with the Prime Minister, so we needed a new Chief Executive of the right calibre to build on our achievements to date.

“We’re a strong business-led partnership so David’s expertise and experience in driving forward partnerships will be crucial to our continued success.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our retiring Chief Executive, Chris Garcia, whose skill and excellent work over the last five years have brought the LEP to where it is today, with an impressive track record of delivery and a £750m investment programme. Chris is a hard act to follow.

“We met some exceptional applicants for this exciting role, and we are delighted that we have attracted an outstanding new leader to take the Heart of the South West LEP into its next phase in delivering prosperity for all.”