Heart of the South West LEP Appoints New Chair and Board Member

Following six years of dedicated service as LEP Chair by Steve Hindley CBE DL, the LEP Board has unanimously appointed Karl Tucker, Executive Chairman of Yeo Valley Production Ltd to take up the next term of office.

Karl Tucker has been with Yeo Valley since 1996 having joined from the quarrying industry and before that having served in the British Army. He has been a key member of the leadership team that has seen Yeo Valley grow to be the UK’s largest organic food brand and one of the largest, independent, family owned dairy businesses in the UK.

As well as his role at Yeo Valley Karl sits on the SW CBI Council, is Chair of the SW CBI’s Food and Drink Council and a member of the Somerset Growth Board.

In addition, a new private sector non-executive director has been selected to take up a vacant position on the Board – Sarah Cook, Vice President, UK Government Business at Leonardo Helicopters.

Sarah has worked for Leonardo Helicopters for 25 years; and took up her current role in January 2019. Her previous position was Managing Director at Aviation Training International Limited – a joint venture company – which she held for 10 years, before which she was UK HR Director for Leonardo Helicopters UK.

Karl Tucker, Executive Chairman, Yeo Valley Production Ltd

Karl Tucker said:

“I’m very much looking forward to leading the LEP Board and working with the Local Authority Leaders on the Joint Committee to deliver a robust Local Industrial Strategy together with our Productivity Strategy and Rural Productivity Strategy, which will make a real difference to peoples’ lives and prosperity.

“I would like to thank Steve Hindley for his dedication over the last six years; he is passing on a legacy of dynamism and we have to continue its momentum.

Sarah Cook, Vice President UK Government Business – Leonardo Helicopters

Sarah Cook said:

“I am delighted to be appointed as a Non-Executive Director on the Heart of the South West LEP Board.

“I’m passionate about the South West; and I’m keen to support the growth potential of its people and businesses whilst protecting the environment and countryside. My 25 years in the aerospace and defence industry has given me insight into innovative solutions that can be developed to address future technology challenges, and I want to open up opportunities to young people in engineering careers.”

Steve Hindley CBE DL

Steve Hindley CBE DL said:

“It has been a deeply fulfilling honour to chair the Board, and it is with great pleasure that the Board has ratified Karl Tucker as chair.

“In my term of office I’ve met three Prime Ministers and my proudest achievement has been to lead the Heart of the South West and the Great South West in taking forward our compelling proposition to Downing Street and working with Government to get the recognition and future funding that our distinctive area rightly deserves.

“I wish the LEP every success and am sure that exciting progress is yet to come under Karl’s leadership.”

David Ralph, HotSW LEP CEO said:

“Steve Hindley has served the board with great dedication and integrity, as well as helping the LEP secure an operational funding pot of over £750million since he came into office with a zero budget. We all wish Steve well for the future, and we are sure that his role as a passionate ambassador for the Heart of the South West and the wider Great South West area is not over yet.

“We have a dynamic programme of activity over the coming months as we gear up to rolling out our Local Industrial Strategy. I look forward to working with Karl Tucker and the rest of the LEP Board, including its newest member, Sarah Cook, to deliver the plans that will raise productivity and prosperity for all.”