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Thames Valley: LEP appoints new CEO

By Dan Teuton
3 January 2020

Alison Webster has been appointed CEO for Thames Valley Berkshire LEP and brings over 30 years’ experience to the role. She will lead a small team supporting the LEP’s board to promote economic growth in the Berkshire area.

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP is a private sector-led partnership of business, local authorities, higher and further education providers, community and voluntary organisations, using more than £218 million derived from UK Government and European Union programmes.

Prior to joining Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, Webster was strategy and policy director at the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), where she was responsible for strategy and policy development, corporate governance and the legal requirements which support the day to day management of the RPA. She also led on collaboration with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and managed the RPA’s relationship with the Devolved Administrations.

Webster has extensive knowledge and expertise in skills, economic and rural development. She has had a varied career in the public sector, working in local government and Non Departmental Public Bodies before joining Defra to head up the Rural Development Programme for England. Prior to joining Defra Group, she was the executive director of operations at the former East of England Development Agency. She had previously set up and run the Essex, Southend and Thurrock Learning and Skills Council as their first executive director and has been chief executive of two careers service companies, Essex Careers and Business Partnership and Capital Careers, a company that she set up and secured the government contract to deliver careers services on behalf of 4 local authorities in central London.

Webster said of her new role: “I am delighted to be joining Thames Valley Berkshire LEP as chief executive. This is a critical time for Berkshire. Businesses and communities are facing a series of challenges including the ongoing economic and political uncertainty. The LEP is driven with real purpose in its work to help achieve the goals set out in its Strategic Economic Plan and Local Industrial Strategy. It will be my priority to make sure we are ready to meet these challenges. I look forward to joining the LEP Board and working with new colleagues promoting this message of excellence through diversity.”

Peter Read, chair of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, added: “Alison has the leadership track record and breadth of experience we believe is critical to lead the LEP and deliver results for all our stakeholders. I am confident, that in Alison, we have found a CEO who will continue to lead the LEP in delivering economic growth in Berkshire through its Strategic Economic Plan, developing a Local Industrial Strategy and delivering current and planned programmes.”