Chairman of Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership announces retirement

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The chairman of Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership has announced he is retiring at the end of March.

Paul Southworth, who was also chairman of its predecessor, Northamptonshire Enterprise Limited, will be replaced by the current chairman of of the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation, John Markham. WNDC will be wound up at the end of next month.

Mr Southworth was previously president and CEO of Northampton-based Avon UK. He also chaired the trustees board at Northampton Theatres and say on the board of the Northamptonshire Arts and Management Trust. He currently services as director general of the Direct Selling Association.

A spokesman for NEP said: “Paul has guided NEL/NEP through significant milestones including being granted Local Enterprise Partnership status in 2011, securing £47 million of European funding and implementing a £100 million Revolving Infrastructure Fund to help make future development happen.

“More recently, Paul has been involved in NEP’s development of its Strategic Economic Plan, which sets out its objectives to 2021. This includes creating a £20 billion local economy and an extra 32,500 jobs, building an additional 37,000 new homes and growing Northamptonshire’s overall economy by 30 percent – one percent above the UK national average.”

Jo Lappin, who recently took over as chief executive at NEP, said: “Paul has made an outstanding contribution to Northamptonshire’s economy throughout his career and it is under his expert guidance that NEP has managed to achieve so much - creating local jobs, supporting our businesses and growing the economy.

“Whilst we are losing an exceptional chairman in Paul, who will be very missed by all of us here at NEP and by everybody that has had the pleasure to work with him, we are very fortunate to have secured John Markham, OBE as our new chairman.

“John’s extensive experience in both the private and public sectors will be invaluable as we move forward in finalising and delivering our very ambitious growth plans.”