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The Plymouth and South Devon Freeport has appointed Jan Ward CBE as its new Chair. Jan takes over the role, which has been held on an interim basis since May last year, from Adrian Bratt, Executive Director at Princess Yachts.

Richard May, who has held the role of interim CEO since last July, has now been appointed permanently and will officially take up his role from the 1st March.

These pivotal permanent appointments will continue to help shape and steer the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport, which was given the green light by government last December following approval of its Full Business Case. As just one of eight Freeports in England, it will play a central role in unlocking investment opportunities, delivering infrastructure and promoting innovation both in the UK and globally.

Adrian Bratt, Executive Director, Princess Yachts: “It has been a privilege to hold the role of Interim Chair of the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport. The Freeport has already started to accelerate opportunities and growth in its identified key sectors and I’m delighted to welcome Jan as Chair to continue to guide, advise and help shape the Freeport for the future.

The Freeport will bring investment, growth, job creation and the introduction of new innovations into the region and Princess Yachts will remain committed to supporting this venture as Plymouth really does become open for business.”

Jan Ward CBE is the founder and CEO of Corrotherm International, an international business which specialises in supplying advanced materials for fabricating oil, gas and power generating equipment.

Jan has been involved in international trade since the outset of her career and has always been a highly enthusiastic promoter of manufacturing and international trade as an economic driver for prosperity globally.

Alongside her new role for the Freeport, Jan is currently a Director of the UAE-UK Business Council and a member of its Advisory Committee and holds a number of Non-Executive posts with manufacturing businesses.

Jan Ward CBE, Chair, Plymouth and South Devon Freeport: “I’m delighted to be appointed to this exciting role as Chair of the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport. The introduction of Freeports across the UK enables local authorities and private partners to work together to develop the economies of their regions. The Plymouth and South Devon Freeport is no exception and working alongside the three local authorities, the private sector and a wider range of stakeholders presents the opportunity to advance the regions’ internationally significant capabilities in marine, defence and space to the benefit of the local economy and its residents. It is our ambition to ensure that this beautiful and historically important region achieves its full potential, flourishes and thrives.”

Richard May led the successful Freeport bid and is Senior Responsible Officer for its delivery. Prior to his interim role, and now permanent position as CEO, Richard previously managed marine investment for Plymouth City Council bringing together marine technical businesses with affiliated research, knowledge partners and the wider ecosystem, under the collective name of Ocean Futures; a programme that the Freeport will play a key part in.

Prior to joining Plymouth City Council, Richard was Innovation Director at Oxford Innovation managing business support programmes for 140 small tech companies and leading incubation programmes for the UK Space Agency. He also has over 25 years of business and senior management experience gained in the technology and consulting departments of leading global companies like Credit Suisse, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Arthur Andersen.

Richard May, Plymouth and South Devon Freeport said: “It is my absolute privilege to be taking up the position of CEO for the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport. Having worked on the project from the initial bid stage in late 2020 through to getting the green light from government just two months ago, and being one of the first Freeports in the programme to do so, I’m excited to be part of the next stage in the journey.

I look forward to working with Jan, the Board of Directors and Member organisations as we begin to welcome investment, partnership opportunities, innovation and new jobs into the Freeport – it really is only the beginning for this highly ambitious and crucially important project to the region.”

The Freeport is a dynamic public/private partnership with Plymouth City Council, South Hams District Council and Devon County Council working alongside Babcock, Princess Yachts, Carlton Power, the Sherford Consortium and a wider range of stakeholders including the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter, ABP (Associated British Ports), Cattewater Harbour Commissioners, skills providers and the Heart of the South West LEP to ensure its success.

Jan Ward CBE will commence her role of Chair of the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport following a Freeport Board meeting this month. Richard May will take up the role of CEO from 1st March. Both appointments are made by Plymouth and South Devon Freeport Limited, a private company limited by guarantee without share capital.

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