Richard Bonner takes up the reins as new chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership

July 15, 2021

The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has appointed civil engineer Richard Bonner as its new chair, replacing Prof Steve West, who has been in the role since 2017.

Richard, pictured, joined the LEP board two years ago and also served on the West of England Economic Recovery Taskforce. 

He is UK chief operating officer and Bristol city executive at Arcadis, the global design, engineering and management consulting group, and outgoing president of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative.

He has a background in design and consultancy working in the building sector with both public and private sector clients – helping the region grow and develop sustainably and competitively.

The LEP helps shape the economic future of the region and champions the West of England at regional, national and international level.

With the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), it is leading the region’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, while the LEP board presents the voice of business and universities to WECA.

Richard said: “It’s an honour to take up the baton from Steve West, who has been a fantastic chair.

“Together with the rest of the LEP board and partners, I hope to carry forward the work he’s led in building upon our region’s brilliant reputation for innovation and excellence, to help the West of England not only recover from the pandemic but to grow even stronger.”

Prof West, who is also UWE Bristol vice-chancellor, said: “The future of the LEP and the region is in great hands with Richard – he’ll be an excellent chair for the LEP board.

“He’s an inspirational and influential senior business leader with the credibility to help champion the West of England at regional, national and international level.

“Richard will be central to driving forward the ambitious vision for the West of England set out in the Local Industrial Strategy, working in partnership with others.”

West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris, who leads WECA thanked Prof West for the work he had done for our region – both before and through the pandemic.

“He’s helped give us a renewed pride in our fabulous region – spurring us on to tackle the challenges we face,” he added.

“I look forward to working with Richard Bonner in his role as new chair of the LEP. Together I know that we can put the West of England on the map as a place of progress – with big ideas, even bigger heart and the determination to achieve a better future for our region’s residents and businesses.”

WECA and the LEP have worked with the government and the business community to develop a Local Industrial Strategy that sets out clear priorities to drive long-term growth in the regional economy.

The strategy draws on the region’s unique strengths and sets out its ambition to be a driving force for clean and inclusive growth.


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