Home Business and economy Knowsley representatives elected to new City Region Business and Enterprise Board

Knowsley representatives elected to new City Region Business and Enterprise Board

by Jonathan Kearney

Three Knowsley representatives have been confirmed to sit on the Liverpool City Region’s new Business and Enterprise Board.

They are Melanie Lewis, CEO of Shakespeare North Playhouse, Trevor Leeks, Operations Director at Jaguar Land Rover and Rachel Baker, Managing Director at JJ Smith and Co.

The new board has taken over the role of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in providing a voice for business in the area.

Business leaders from across the city region and its key growth sectors have been named on the new board. There are also reserved places for representatives from further and higher education and the region’s visitor economy.

The board has been appointed after an extensive recruitment process, carried out over recent months, which attracted applications from 65 high-calibre candidates. In appointing the Board, the Combined Authority has worked hard to ensure gender balance, ethnic diversity, and geographic representation across all six areas of the Liverpool City Region.

Speaking about the new Board, Mayor Rotheram said: “Thriving local businesses are the backbone of our economy and, for our area to flourish, we need them to succeed. Through our new Business and Enterprise Board, we have pulled together a team that boasts decades of hand-on experience at leading organisations and, it’s my hope, that their knowledge and insight will help us to join-up our thinking with fresh ideas to grow our economy.

“I want the Liverpool City Region to be the home of ‘good’ business and I’m looking forward to seeing where the Board will take us on our journey to making our area the best place in the country to live, work and run a business in.”

The new board is made up of:

Name Current role
David Meyerowitz, Chair Chief Executive, Haier Europe
Ruth Hartnoll, Deputy Chair Matchstick Creative, Co Founder and CEO
Rachael Hennigan Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Hugh Baird College
Health and Life Sciences – Cluster Board Chair (to be filled)  
Trevor Leeks Operations Director, JLR Halewood
Utubakwu Michael Ushie CEO Prime Atlantic
Melanie Lewis CEO Shakespeare North
Lynn Haime CEO Baltic Creative
Jennifer Van Der Merwe Director of Kindred-LCR
Mohammed Tawhidul Islam Managing Director Islam & Co Chartered Accountants,
Prof. Mark Power Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Liverpool John Moores University
Prof. Tim Jones Vice-Chancellor, University of Liverpool
Ruth Wood Interim CEO, Mersey Maritime
Rachael Baker Managing Director, JJ Smith & Co
LVEP Chair (to be filled)  


Coopted Members      
Co-option Purpose Name Business Location Current role
Expertise on Net-zero agenda Dom Potter Sefton MD Low Carbon Business School
HLS expertise and St Helens business representation Elliot Street St Helens CEO and Co-Founder Inovus Medical
Digital expertise and Halton business representation Prof. Katherine Royse Halton Director, Hartree Centre

David Meyerowitz, Chair of the Business and Enterprise Board, said: “I’m hugely excited to get to work with my fellow board members to help shape the strategic direction of the Liverpool City Region’s economy.  This is a genuinely representative, high-level leadership group, and I look forward to working with them to identify opportunities to stimulate economic growth, productivity and competitiveness across our city region.”

Two Board slots are yet to be filled: one of these is reserved for the health and life science Cluster Board Chair (yet to be confirmed); the other is the LVEP Chair – yet to be appointed. The HE role will alternate between the Vice Chancellors of the University of Liverpool and LJMU.

Board Members will be appointed to serve for varying periods of time and will not be permitted to serve for more than two consecutive terms.  This will enable the Board to be refreshed periodically.

While the Board is restricted to 14 people, there is provision to co-opt subject matter experts for up to a year at a time, to enable the Board to benefit from expert input. At this time, three such experts have been co-opted: from the low carbon Business School on Net Zero, from SciTech Daresbury on digital innovation/ AI, and from Inovus Medical on health and life sciences.

The Board’s first formal meeting will be in October.

Under plans approved by the Combined Authority in April this year, the new Business and Enterprise Board has been set up within the Combined Authority as a key means of engaging with the local business community.

Bringing the business voice directly into the Combined Authority’s policy-making processes will enable it to work more closely and directly with businesses, especially those in industry clusters that will be of critical importance to the future success of the city region economy.

Following a national review of the work of Local Enterprise Partnerships, the Combined Authority was required by government to integrate the functions of the LEP into its own governance structure.

Since the creation of the Combined Authority, several LEP-related functions, such as setting local economic priorities and leading on economic growth and job creation, have already moved across to the Authority.