THE man in charge of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership is to step down at the end of the year.
Doug Morrison has been chairman of the Solent LEP since May 2011, when it became the first organisation of its kind to have a fully-elected board.
Mr Morrison will hand over the reins of the Solent LEP in November, but will remain involved with the Portsmouth-based organisation until he retires in December from his post as director of the ABP Port of Southampton, where he has been for eight years.
Mr Morrison said: ‘I am of course aware of the need to maintain continuity for the LEP at such an important time, as our responsibilities continue to grow, and the board will elect a new business director chairman at our meeting in November.
‘I plan to maintain my engagement with the new chairman until my retirement from ABP takes effect in December in order to ensure that there are sufficient hand-over arrangements in place for whomever is chosen to take on this critical role.
‘I am confident that whoever the board wish to appoint as chairman from November will be well placed to conclude the work to develop what I believe will be one of the strongest Strategic Economic Plans in the country.’
The Solent LEP is made up of volunteer business leaders, politicians and education heads from across the Solent region, who work together to encourage economic growth and attract funding to the area.
In its first year alone, it was responsible for attracting investments totalling £90m to its patch, which stretches from Portsmouth to the New Forest, and north towards the middle of the county.
Solent LEP director Seán Woodward said: ‘Doug has served the Solent LEP with business expertise of the highest order throughout our formative period as a shadow board and continued to do so in his role as chairman of the permanent board.
‘I am most grateful to Doug for the work that he has done, both personally and in close association with colleagues, in putting the Solent LEP very firmly on the political map with all of the benefits for the local economy that flow from that.’
Mr Morrison will be succeeded at the Port of Southampton by Nick Ridehalgh, currently ABP port director at Short Sea Ports.