Chairman chosen to help restore marine prosperity

30 ways Portsmouth could be improved - according to our readers

Have your say

A STEERING group set up to bring growth to the marine and maritime sector in the region has appointed a chairman.

Brian Johnson, UK business development director at BAE Systems Naval Ships, has been announced.

The Solent Marine and Maritime Steering Group, which will be made up of public and private sector experts, has been set up by Solent Local Enterprise Partnership to drive the long-term, sustainable growth of the sector.

It was a key recommendation of a recent report for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, led by Rear Admiral Rob Stevens CB, in April to identify the steps that should be taken to secure the future of the marine and maritime industries across the Solent.

Brian has more than 20 years’ experience in the sector, working with organisations such as Thales, Marconi and, most recently, BAE Systems.

He said: ‘I am delighted to have been appointed to the group, which I believe has the opportunity to make a real difference to the Solent economy.

‘We have a fantastic starting point.

‘However, there is much work still to do if we are to maximise the benefit of these opportunities and build on these successes with further initiatives and I am looking forward to getting the new group together to agree our plans for this.’

Mr Johnson said that a lot had already been achieved on one of the flagship projects in Rear Admiral Stevens’ report, with great progress seen in establishing the Ben Ainslie Racing headquarters for the America’s Cup team. There has also been the announcement of the UK Centre for Maritime Intelligence Systems in Portsmouth which was announced on Monday last week.

The newly established group will work to enable the transformational growth described in the report.

Organisations across the Solent are working to agree other representatives on the group, and the Solent LEP has today opened an invitation for more local marine and maritime business leaders to express an interest in joining the group.

The LEP is keen to ensure small and medium sized enterprises are represented.

For information on how to put yourself forward to join the Solent Marine and Maritime Steering Group, visit

Those interested in getting involved should contact the LEP by Friday.