Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership appoints two new co-chairs

11th February 2020

In a nationwide first, the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GMLEP) is set to appoint two industry leaders as co-chairs of the board, with Mo Isap and Lou Cordwell OBE, beginning their roles in spring 2020.

The GMLEP sits at the heart of Greater Manchester’s governance arrangements ensuring business leaders, working with the Combined Authority, are setting the strategic course of the city region, determining local economic priorities, driving growth and job creation.

The private sector led board works alongside elected Mayor Andy Burnham and leaders in the city-region offering insight, leadership, guidance and constructive challenge as they take forward the Combined Authority’s strategic ambitions.

Lou Cordwell OBE has been a LEP board member since 2013, and is currently Deputy Chair, SME Representative and the lead for Communications, Digital Broadcasting and Skills Fund.

She is Founder and CEO of renowned Manchester based digital design studio, magneticNorth. Founded in 2000, the company quickly established an international reputation with an award winning client portfolio.

A highly respected businesswoman, Lou is a Chair of Design Manchester, and a passionate campaigner for gender equality in business and the tech industry.

She was awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours list, for services to the creative and digital economy.

Lou said: “I am looking forward to helping steer this next era of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership together with Mo.

“It is more important than ever that Greater Manchester continues to have a strong platform for public and private partnership. We will strive to ensure that our LEP continues to be the modern, collaborative and ambitious voice of Greater Manchester business.

“Together, we will continue the development and delivery of our Local Industrial Strategy – our plan to deliver an economy fit for the future, with prosperous communities across the city-region.”

Mo Isap has been an LEP board member since 2017, and is the lead for Education and Skills.

The Founder & CEO of IN4.0 Group headquartered at the Landing, Media City Salford, Mo’s successful businesses operate through joint venture partnerships with regional universities.

They provide industrial digital technology training and nurture talent into local high skilled employment. Over a 20-year career as a Manchester entrepreneur, Mo has successfully scaled several businesses from his base in the Northern Quarter.

Mo is also Trustee and Vice Chair of STAR Academies. STAR academies are a leading Multi Academy and Free Schools Trust, operating over 30 schools across the country, two of the Trust’s Academies are in Cheetham Hill Manchester.

Mo said: “I am very pleased to be co-chairing the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership with Lou.

“I am determined that we will build on the existing strengths and collaborative infrastructure of our ambitious board.  Lou and I are both experienced entrepreneurs. We have complimentary skills, which we will use to implement our Local Industrial Strategy across the city-region.

“Together we can deliver great outcomes for Greater Manchester businesses and residents and futureproof our economy for generations to come.”

Sir Richard Leese said: “I welcome the combination appointment of Lou and Mo, they will build on the excellent legacy of the LEP’s previous work. This is an exciting time as we continue to deliver on the priorities in the Greater Manchester Strategy.

“The new chairs will lead the GMLEP in implementing the Local Industrial Strategy which includes setting Greater Manchester up to be a global leader in health and care innovation, ensuring that the education, skills and employment system in Greater Manchester allow everyone to reach their potential, and to achieve carbon neutral living in the city-region by 2038.

“Lou and Mo will drive the GMLEP’s direction working collaboratively with LEP Board members and our partners. With their expert business knowledge and influence, they can make a significant impact.

“The Board is made up of committed and passionate business people, together with elected representatives from the Combined Authority. They strive to make a real difference to the city-region, creating a lasting positive legacy which reflects commitment to inclusive growth and the role the private sector can play in ensuring all our residents can enjoy the benefits of that growth.”

The current Greater Manchester LEP chair, Mike Blackburn OBE, led the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership from its inception and has made a huge contribution to the city-region including ground breaking devolution deals, the creation and ongoing delivery of the Greater Manchester Strategy, and has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the Local Industrial Strategy.

Mike was also awarded an OBE in The Queen’s June 2015 Birthday Honours list for services to the economy in the North West.

Mike said: “I have worked with both Lou and Mo for a number of years on the board of the Local Enterprise Partnership. They are excellent, innovative leaders, with a wealth of knowledge and experience between them, Greater Manchester will benefit greatly from their unique combination as co-chairs.

“This joint appointment also reflects the LEP’s commitment to diversity in the city-region, and showing Manchester does things differently.

“The LEP board recognises that it works on behalf of all the people of Greater Manchester and believe that different people bring different ideas, knowledge and perspectives.”

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