SWRDA names new chairman

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Sir Harry Studholme has been appointed as the next Chairman of the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA).

Having been a South West RDA board member since 2002, Sir Harry will take over the reins at the top when current chairman Juliet Williams steps down on 1 July 2009.

Sir Harry’s appointment follows a full and open national recruitment process culminating with a seal of approval from Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Sir Harry said:  “Naturally I am thrilled and hugely honoured.  Having been closely involved with the South West RDA for over six years I have been lucky to get to know both the region and many of the hardworking and dedicated staff of the agency. I am looking forward to working with both them and our many partners for the benefit of our beautiful region.

“We all know this is a difficult time for our economy as we grapple with the impact of recession.  In such circumstances, the South West RDA’s ambition is clear:  to help support businesses, communities and individuals through the immediate challenge while continuing to build for a robust and sustainable future.

“I look forward enormously to continuing and developing the good relationships we have with so many partners across this great region. The strength of these partnerships will determine our collective success, and I can assure them of my personal commitment to the challenges ahead.”

Harry Studholme has been involved in business in South West England for the last 30 years.  He has worked in accounting and general management in a range of sectors including manufacturing, land management and insurance, and in organisations ranging in size from quoted companies to small business.

After studying Engineering at Cambridge University, Harry qualified as a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser and more recently as an Accredited Mediator.

He has chaired the Agency’s Audit Committee for five years and throughout his time on the Board he has Chaired the Rural Advisory Group and more recently the Planning Sub Group.

Harry is currently a GB Forestry Commissioner, Chairman of the South West Chamber of Rural Enterprise and of the Steering Group of Finding Sanctuary, a project to create Marine Protected areas and sustainable fisheries off the South West.

He is a member of the South West Rural Affairs Forum. From 2004 to 2008 he was Chairman of South West Food and Drink. His own business interests include the Perridge Estate which includes a 350 acre in-hand farm, 650 acres of woodland, and both residential and light industrial property
letting.  

Juliet Williams welcomed news of Sir Harry’s appointment:  “Harry has been a great servant both to the RDA and to the South West economy for many years.

“He brings a wealth of experience and expertise across the range of the RDA’s responsibilities and I know has a great personal commitment to and love of this part of the world.  I cannot think of a better successor!”