The regional transport body Midlands Connect has appointed Sir John Peace - chairman of the global luxury brand, Burberry Group plc - as its independent chair.
Sir John, who is also outgoing chairman of the international banking group Standard Chartered PLC, was appointed at the inaugural meeting of the Midlands Connect board which took place last week.
Sir John Peace, independent chair of Midlands Connect
He will now support the partnership - which includes 28 local authorities across the East and West Midlands, Network Rail, Highways England, Government, 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships and the wider business community - as it develops a Midlands-wide transport strategy helping the ‘Midlands Engine’ vision rival, and collaborate with, the Northern Powerhouse.
Nottinghamshire-born Sir John said the Midlands had ‘so much more economic potential still to be tapped, which is why the Government has tasked us with identifying the transport infrastructure needed to help unlock that growth and help power the Midlands Engine’.
‘This is a crucial piece of work because the constraints on the region’s existing road and rail networks are holding back our economy and making our businesses less competitive,’ he added.
‘If we can speed up journey times across the Midlands we could boost our economy by more than £1bn a year, create an additional 300,000 jobs, save businesses nearly £500m and provide a more prosperous future for the region’s 11 million people.’
Fellow associate board member, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, said: ‘It’s clear that by developing a single transport strategy for the region, Midlands Connect will make a huge contribution to boosting the region’s economy.
‘That is why the Government has provided £5m to take this work forward. I am delighted to see Sir John Peace appointed as the group’s independent chair. His skills and experience will be vital in helping make the Midlands an Engine for Growth.’
Sir John is the Queen’s representative for his home county serving as its Lord Lieutenant and also chairs the Nottingham Economic Growth Board.