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Regional Development Agencies: Chairmen

Volume 592: debated on Thursday 30 July 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:When they propose to appoint chairs for the boards of the proposed regional development agencies. [HL3175]

Formal appointments to the boards of the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) cannot be made until the Regional Development Agencies Bill, currently before Parliament, has received Royal Assent. However, we propose to engage a chairman designate for each RDA on an advisory basis prior to Royal Assent to assist in preparations for the establishment of the RDAs.

Our choices are as follows:

Eastern RDAVincent Watts—Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia
East Midlands RDADerek Mapp—Formerly Chairman of Tom Cobleigh plc. Currently part-time Executive Chairman of Leapfrog Day Nurseries
North East RDAJohn Bridge—Chief Executive of the Northern Development Company
North West RDALord Thomas of Macclesfield—Formerly Managing Director of the Co-operative Bank and founding Chairman of the North West Partnership
South East RDA Ltd.Allan Willett—Chairman and founder of Willett International
South West RDASir Michael Lickiss—Chairman of Edexcel Foundation (previously BTEC)
West Midlands RDAAlex Stephenson—Managing Director of Rover Group Power Train
Yorkshire and Humber RDAGraham Hall—Chief Executive of Yorkshire Electricity Group plc

There was a strong list of candidates in each region and we were able to appoint people of the highest calibre to lead each RDA. Candidates for chairman of each RDA were sought from a wide range of sources, including a public advertisement, nominations from regional and national stakeholders, and details of people who had previously expressed an interest in public service. Independent assessors were involved both in the short listing process and in interviews. All appointments have been made on merit and in accordance with guidance issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

There will also be a development agency in London. The creation of the London Development Agency will take account of the new arrangements for the government of London including the way that appointments are made.