South Yorkshire LEP chair to step down at end of 3-year term

James Muir, Chair of the South Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), has announced that he will not be seeking a second term as chair and that he will be stepping down from the role in December. An interim chair will be sought from the current LEP Board and will be in post until the Mayoral election in May next year.

South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis said: “I would like thank James for his work as LEP chair in which he has championed South Yorkshire’s strengths and assets locally, nationally and internationally. His leadership throughout the pandemic helped to ensure that businesses have been listened to and supported through this incredibly challenging time. His go-getting attitude has helped to attract a number of innovative investors to the region, and he leaves South Yorkshire in a strong position to attract further funding from investors and government. On behalf of the Mayoral Combined Authority I would like to thank James for his dedication and wish him well in his future endeavours.”

Dr Dave Smith, Chief Executive of South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority and LEP said: “James has led South Yorkshire LEP with ambition, dedication and resolve over the last three years. He has played a huge part in ensuring that innovation and productivity are at the heart of South Yorkshire’s Strategic Economic Plan. His work has brought together businesses, local government and universities and he leaves these partnerships with real unity of purpose. I would like to thank James, on behalf of the Board and the Executive, for his tireless work over the past three years.”

Over the last three years the LEP has helped the Mayor and Council Leaders navigate the region’s response to, and recovery from, the pandemic. At the start of the crisis last year, James established the South Yorkshire Covid-19 Business Input Group to respond to the immediate and unfolding impacts on businesses. The group, which included members from the FSB, MakeUK, CBI, Chambers of Commerce, trade unions, and other business groups, ensured the region’s Recovery Action Plan responded to the needs of business, based on the latest business intelligence.

As he steps away, James leaves the region in a stronger position for further future investment having worked with partners, businesses and prospective investors to build a business investment pipeline for South Yorkshire. This pipeline of innovative, oven-ready projects has already started to stimulate growth as investors and government recognise that now is the time to invest in South Yorkshire. The pipeline has the potential to create thousands of jobs across digital, energy, advanced manufacturing, scientific research, retail and logistics sectors.

During his tenure, James represented South Yorkshire as part of the NP11 – a partnership of 11 LEPs in the North of England which aim to shift the North’s economy into overdrive by driving prosperity, international competitiveness and inclusive growth in the North of England.

South Yorkshire LEP Chair James Muir said: “It has been a privilege and an honour to lead the Local Enterprise Partnership over the past three years. South Yorkshire LEP has a vital role in ensuring that business leaders help to shape local decisions that impact on business growth and the long-term success of our economy.

“My decision to step down is a personal one, driven by a desire to see more of my family, to do some of the things I promised myself I would do after spending much of my career away from home, and in the belief that a new Mayor should have the privilege of building their own team when elected.

“Thanks to the LEP Board, the Mayor, local leaders, the business community and anchor institutions, including the two universities, for their support. Thanks also to the Executive Team for their hard work and dedicated contributions. The actions we’ve taken together throughout the pandemic have helped our people and businesses to recover. We’ve started to transform South Yorkshire and can look to the future with hope and positivity as the region focuses on recovery, renewal and growth.”