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Enterprise Partnership appoints rural champion as new vice-chairman

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John MortimerJohn MortimerJohn Mortimer, south west director of the Country Land & Business Association, has been appointed vice-Chairman of Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

A SWLEP Board member since February 2015, John formally takes up his enhanced role on Wednesday (July 6) and during his tenure is keen to make the organisation more relevant to the 25,000 businesses across Swindon and Wiltshire.

More than 95 percent of this total are SMEs.

“What I particularly want to achieve is a closer connection between the LEP and the thousands of businesses trying to make their way. It is important we reach and hear from more of those businesses as to how the LEP can benefit them,” said John.

John initially joined the SWLEP Board “as a way of making sure rural businesses have a voice. Also, Wiltshire is my home and I am passionate about trying to help all businesses in Wiltshire and Swindon reach their full potential.”

He added: “I think it is important Board members bring their particular interest to ensure there is a good balance of experience. However, it is also critical that we work in a collective way and act in the best interests of the whole business community and, indeed, the wider community.”

John has worked as South West Director of the CLA since 2002, based at Hartham Park near Corsham. Since 2011, he has had dealings with all LEPs across the region which runs from Gloucestershire to the Isles of Scilly and Dorset.

A mining engineer by profession, John previously worked for 25 years in the minerals industry latterly as Technical and External Affairs Director at Hanson Quarry Products Europe Ltd in Chipping Sodbury. During that time, he was Chairman of the British Geological Survey and Chairman of the CBI Minerals Committee.

He is also a management board member on the South West Rural and Farming Network. He lives near Shertson after moving to Wiltshire in 1985.

SWLEP chairman Barry Dennington said: “John joined our Board to bring knowledge and understanding of the rural economy, which is a very important sector in our area, particularly in Wiltshire.

“However, his experience of wider business will be invaluable as he takes up his role as vice-Chairman and I am delighted that the Board unanimously approved his appointment following a thorough recruitment process.”