New chair announced for Greater Birmingham LEP

Tim Pile

A former communications chief has been named as the new chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.

Tim Pile, former chair and chief executive of Meriden-based creative communications agency Cogent Elliott, succeeds Steve Hollis as the head of the influential body.

In addition to his work with the LEP, Mr Pile is also a Non-Executive Director at building firm Marshalls, the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, and the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Having worked across financial services and marketing, his previous roles include CEO of Sainsbury’s Bank; Marketing, Strategy & Sales Director at Alliance & Leicester; and Marketing Director of Lloyds TSB.

Mr Pile said: “GBSLEP has gone from strength to strength since it was formed in 2010, and is on track to meet or exceed its key targets. Both Steve Hollis and (former chair) Andy Street have helped to transform Greater Birmingham and Solihull into a more confident and collaborative region, and I am proud to be taking the reins from them at this exciting time.

“The GBSLEP is uniquely placed to make a real difference and has always worked closely with a range of partners to help the local economy realise its full potential. Some of the vital projects coordinated by GBSLEP include regional business support; securing investment into local connectivity and regeneration schemes; and working with our companies to ensure their future skills needs are met.

“We still have more work to do to build on our track record of success, but I am confident that GBSLEP is in a strong position to help our city region achieve that.”

His appointment was confirmed at the LEP’s latest board meeting.

Steve Hollis, Tim Pile and Chris Loughran

Outgoing chair Steve Hollis said: “Tim is a great addition to our board. He is well positioned to steer Greater Birmingham forward, using his expertise to help promote the region as a place where people and businesses can thrive. His deep understanding of Greater Birmingham, combined with his time working outside of the region, gives Tim a valuable perspective on how GBSLEP can deliver even stronger conditions for growth.”

During the last 12 months, GBSLEP has performed strongly in its two key targets – private sector job creation and economic performance. The local economy grew by 4.7% in 2015, the biggest increase of any core city LEP area in the UK and higher than the national average of 2.6%. The region’s GVA is now worth £44.5bn.

Greater Birmingham and Solihull also recorded a 3.2% rise in new private sector jobs earlier this month, with an increase of 23,257 jobs during 2016. This outperforms the average across England, which is 2.3%.

The LEP aims to deliver 250,000 private sector jobs between 2010 and 2030 and has now reached 55% of its target, with 136,605 new jobs generated since 2010.

Chris Loughran, deputy chair at GBSLEP, added: “Steve Hollis has done a tremendous job as deputy chair of GBSLEP since its inception and as its interim chair during the past year. We are all very grateful for the time and energy he has spent on making the GBSLEP what it is today – one of the most highly regarded LEPs in the country.

“We welcome Tim during an exciting period of change for Greater Birmingham, which is attracting significant levels of growth and recognition. It was clear during the interview process that our new chair recognises both the opportunities and threats that our region’s businesses face and is highly motivated to take the GBSLEP to a new level of performance and contribution to our region’s growth. I am excited at the prospect of working closely with Tim over the next few years.”

Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor, said: “Local Enterprise Partnerships are an incredibly important part of the West Midlands Combined Authority and have a vital role to play in our region’s economic performance. I am really pleased the LEP has been able to secure a chair of the quality of Tim and I look forward to working with him.”