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Posted on:
2nd December, 2019

New Chair Sought for Lincolnshire LEP as Ursula Lidbetter Steps Down

One of the longest standing LEP Chairs is to stand down after serving the maximum nine years heading up a LEP.

New Chair Sought for Lincolnshire LEP as Ursula Lidbetter Steps Down

Ursula Lidbetter OBE is to stand down as Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership at the end of December after nine years at the helm of the organisation.

Ursula, who is also Chief Executive Officer of Lincolnshire Co-op, was the first Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP when it was created in 2010. LEP directors may serve for a maximum of nine years, and Ursula has been successfully leading the LEP since the start.

The LEP is a business-led partnership of private and public-sector leaders. It works with business, the Government and local authorities to drive economic growth in Greater Lincolnshire and is the voice of the local business community, ensuring that the economic interests of the area are properly represented.

The search for a new Chair will now begin. Until an appointment is made the LEP’s Deputy Chair Pat Doody will act as Interim Chair.

“I know I speak for the rest of the board when I reflect that Ursula has provided a very clear sense of direction and purpose to the LEP’s workings and has always had the best interests of Greater Lincolnshire at the heart of decision making,” said Pat.

“She has added the important ingredient of ambition while recognising the challenges we have had to overcome in order to free up the area’s potential.

“Our voice has been heard at the highest levels and the work she has also carried out on the Food Council at a national level reflects the importance of this sector to both Greater Lincolnshire and the UK economy.

“I think her USP has been the way she secures the buy-in of both private and public sector elements of the partnership, and when we consider her tenure of the LEP, from day one, we all have much to be grateful for.”

Ruth Carver, Chief Executive of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, commented:

“Ursula is a highly successful and effective businesswoman and a brilliant ambassador for our area.

“Her energy and dynamism have driven the LEP forward since its inception and everyone in Greater Lincolnshire owes her a debt of gratitude for her hard work and commitment to improving the local economy.

“I would like to thank Ursula for her major contribution and I look forward to welcoming her replacement as Chair of the LEP.”

Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine, said:

“It has been a great privilege to work with Ursula in her role as Chair of Greater Lincolnshire LEP over a number of years, during which time I came to fully appreciate the breadth of her outstanding leadership capabilities and her passion for Lincolnshire and the wider Midlands region.

“During her tenure Lincolnshire’s economy, businesses and communities have benefited immeasurably from her leadership and determination to make the county of Lincolnshire and our region a much better and prosperous place to live, to work, to learn and to raise a family.

“On behalf of everyone at the Midlands Engine, I would like to say a very big thank you to Ursula for everything she has done and wish her every success and happiness in the future.”

Announcing her intention to step down from the LEP board, Ursula commented:

“It’s been a privilege to serve as Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership since it was formed. The difference we’ve made can be seen from the Humber to the Wash in better infrastructure, innovation and business growth, university and college provision.

“The LEP has brought people from business and the public sector together with government to develop our ambitious Strategic Economic Plan and emerging Local Industrial Strategy which guide our effort and investment. Major projects include the Food Enterprise Zones in Holbeach and Grimsby, the Grantham Southern Relief Road and the Lincoln Transport Hub. We’ve also invested in sustainable transport including in Go Skegness, where there’s also a new business park on the way.

“While investing in physical assets we’ve worked equally hard to ensure that we develop the skills locally to start and grow great businesses and create good jobs. So we’ve invested in the Lincoln Medical School, new university campuses in Grantham and Scunthorpe and digital training centres in Stamford and Lincoln. Our Growth Hub has supported more than 24,000 businesses who want to grow and succeed.

“We’ve been fortunate that so many local people from business and the public sector have given their time and talent to the LEP and I’ve enjoyed working with them and learning from them. Over 100 businesses also work at national and international level through Team Lincolnshire to promote the area to potential investors.

“Over my nine years as Chair we’ve grown in our ambition and proved our ability to transform this place while retaining our quality of life. I look forward to seeing the next chapter unfold.”

Born and bred in Lincoln, Ursula studied operational research – the scientific approach to business management – at the University of Hull and then took a graduate course at the Co-op College.

She joined Lincolnshire Co-operative in 1985 as a buyer and department manager at the Silvergate store in Lincoln. Since then she has held various roles and ultimately became the society’s CEO in 2004.

As well as being Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, she is also Chair of the Lincoln Business Improvement Group and was Chair of the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce until last year.

She was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to business in Lincolnshire and an OBE in 2019.

To discuss the role of Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP email Roger.Russell@Penna.com or call 0203 8492627.