The first chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership was paraded in front of the media this lunchtime at the offices of Truro accountant Winter Rule.
Flanked by Cornwall Council leader Alec Robertson and Cornwall Chamber chairman, Martin Follett, Chris Pomfret cut a confident figure.
Chris who? some might say. And granted, Pomfret openly admits to having no experience of the Cornwall business picture, a fact that many critics are sure to seize upon.
He does, however, have extensive experience of the wider commercial scene, including some 30 years in consumer goods marketing around the world with global giant Unilever, which owns such brands as Ben & Jerry’s, Bird’s Eye and Bovril just to name a few of many.
And surely it is this sort of strategic and marketing expertise that the fledgling LEP needs if it is going to be a success – the kind of experience that is essentially lacking in Cornwall’s business community.
It is not as if he is a stranger to Cornwall, living in Port Isaac, stressing that it is not a holiday home, but indeed his only home!
He says he’s not in it for the money, although he will receive £20k a year “compensation”. Rather, he sees “a very positive future” for Cornwall and wants to play his part in developing it.
Both he and Council leader Robertson underlined that the LEP will be private-sector led. Personally, I am a little more dubious whether this will be possible, but surely it is just semantics. ‘Partnership’ should be the key word, and whether it is truly private-led or public-led, as long as it is pulling in the same direction, that is all that counts.
There will be vocal sections of the business community who will probably be unimpressed by the appointment. Engaging with those people will be an early challenge for Pomfret.
By far the largest segment, however, will be the silent majority. Those business people who quite honestly couldn’t give a monkeys and just want to get on with running their business.
So welcome aboard Mr Pomfret, and let’s give him some time before we start judging.