OxLEP announces new appointments to its Board, bringing the organisation even closer to Oxfordshire’s innovative business community.
OxLEP has this week announced a number of new appointments to its non-executive board of directors, set to further enhance the organisation’s reach into the county’s business community.
As well as several new business representatives joining OxLEP, the organisation has also announced the appointment of a new Chair of its Board, set to takeover in March from Jeremy Long, who has been in post since 2016.
Professor Alistair Fitt (pictured above) – who is the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University – will take up his new position at OxLEP’s next Board meeting in March. His appointment follows a recruitment drive coordinated by OxLEP during the later stages of 2022.
Professor Fitt is currently the Deputy Chair of OxLEP, having been appointed to that role two years ago.
OxLEP will in the coming months look to appoint a new Deputy Chair to the Board.
Mr Long – who is also Co-Chair of the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership (OIEP) and Chair of the local energy efficiency installation business, EnergyMyWay – will leave OxLEP following seven years of Board leadership and support of the organisation’s executive team.
During this time, he has overseen the development and delivery of several major projects that have influenced economic decisions, investment and policy in the county, including; the Oxfordshire Local Industrial Strategy, the Oxfordshire Investment Plan and the Oxfordshire Economic Recovery Plan, created following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new non-executive appointments – who were confirmed and approved at OxLEP’s most-recent Board meeting in December – sees the organisation draw upon significant experience from across a variety of sectors and size of business, based in Oxfordshire.
The four new non-executive appointments are:
Rachel is the current managing director of Nielsen UK and Ireland and has lived and worked in the Oxfordshire area for over 20 years. As well as overseeing Nielsen’s operations delivered by 800-plus associates, Rachel – as part of her commitment to the role both professionally and personally – supports a range of initiatives aimed at providing opportunities for local people and local businesses to benefit from the company’s operations.
Stephen is currently the chief economist at the Harwell Campus-based Faraday Institution. This follows an economics career spanning 30 years across organisations such as Grant Thornton, KPMG, the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and the CBI. Currently, Stephen also sits on the UK Government Regulatory Policy Committee and the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre Board. He was until recently also a member of the National Infrastructure Commission for Wales.
Dr Alexander Reip
Alexander has been involved in the Oxfordshire innovation ecosystem since moving to the area after his PhD. He co-founded Oxford nanoSystems and has spent most of the past 10 years developing an international presence for the company, headquartered in Abingdon. He has a passion for supporting start-up businesses and uses his experience to advise and mentor technology-based start-up companies.
Jennifer is the managing director and an executive board member of the award-winning, Oxford-based technology consultancy 67 Bricks. Her work has been recognised professionally and Jennifer was recently-listed as ‘one to watch’ in The Times as part of the LDC Top 50 Most Ambitious Business Leaders feature. Jennifer was also an Oxfordshire Young Businessperson of the Year finalist and is currently-shortlisted for the forthcoming Women in Tech Excellence’s ‘Transformation Leader’ award.
Professor Fitt said: “I am extremely pleased to become the new Chair of OxLEP at a time where supporting our business community has never been more critical.
“Working with businesses, education providers, as well as our local authority and government partners, I believe we are extremely well-positioned to support the ongoing re-emergence and recovery of Oxfordshire’s economy with major opportunities across several areas.
“Opportunities include; creating robust and agile business support programmes that are truly driven by our business community, establishing even greater connections between business and education, as well as working nationally and internationally to drive investment into the county for the benefit of all.
“I also welcome our many new non-executive directors to the organisation and look forward to working with them as they take up their new positions at OxLEP.”
Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – added: “We are delighted to announce these new appointments to our Board, which strengthens our reach into the Oxfordshire business community and in so doing allows us to support even more businesses in the county.
“Both individually and collectively – working alongside our existing Board members – they will provide further strategic direction to our work at a critical economic time for both our local economy and indeed the wider-UK economy.
“Alistair’s appointment ensures strategic continuity and knowledge of our local economy and its challenges, as well as an in-depth understanding of our role at a time of significant political change, nationally and locally.
“Alistair is a trusted figure in the Oxfordshire business and education communities, with strong government connections and a high profile on the national stage. He will undoubtedly continue to build upon the excellent foundations laid under the stewardship of Jeremy, who I am sure will continue to be a great supporter of our work moving forward.”
Jeremy Long also added: “I’d like to thank Nigel, the OxLEP team and the whole Board for all their hard work, support and contributions over the last seven years. OxLEP has played an important role in working alongside many different partners in the county, delivering on a wide range of business and skills issues.
“I am very pleased that a person of the calibre of Alistair will now be taking the organisation forward.”
Professor Fitt’s appointment comes at a time of significant economic challenge, with OxLEP’s continuing focus to be on the county’s business community and supporting their respective transitions and journeys, post-Covid 19.
In its most-recent impact report, OxLEP Business revealed – between April 2021 and March 2022 – the organisation were able to engage with over 2,500 businesses and also provided around 6,000 hours of support, worth an estimated £3.5 million.
In turn, this support helped to safeguard 388 jobs in Oxfordshire that could have otherwise been lost to the local economy.
This sits alongside £1 billion-worth of investment secured for the county by OxLEP and its partners to-date, not just benefiting individual companies and workforces, but many communities too through a variety of investments.