A former director general of the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) is leading a bid to create 50,000 jobs in Staffordshire.
David Frost, who headed up the BCC after previously running the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber, has become the new chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
His appointment came after the LEP submitted its strategic plan for £780 million over a six-year period to 2020, including £120 million in 2015/16 to start work on strategic projects which would secure leverage of £3.2 billion.
Mr Frost succeeds Ron Dougan, who has chaired the LEP since 2012.
He said: “The Single Local Growth Fund bid sets out our ambitious plans to grow our economy by 50 per cent over the next decade and create 50,000 jobs.
"We know this is achievable based on the hard collaborative work which has already taken place and the unique City Deal with government we secured last month.
“Our strategic plan identifies key strengths such as advanced manufacturing and medical technologies and also focuses on ensuring we have skilled work-ready candidates to meet the needs of business.”
The strategic plan details infrastructure development at key strategic sites at Meaford, the Stoke-on-Trent city centre spine, Keele University Science and Business Park and Etruria Valley.
Mr Frost was director general of the British Chambers of Commerce from January 2003 to September 2011. In February 2008 he received an honorary doctorate from Birmingham City University and in 2011 New Year Honours he received a CBE for services to business.
Civic leaders have said his appointment is a major coup.
Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said: “David’s appointment brings a wealth of expertise to the LEP and will enable it to strengthen links with Government and business.
“This is vital for our ongoing success after our establishing Staffordshire as a leading place to do business nationally.
“The ability to influence at the top level is a key part of the LEP strategic plan – demonstrating to leaders what we have achieved and will look to achieve are worthy of the backing that we know will create investment.
“While David has a tough act to follow, I know he shares the same passion as Ron Dougan, and we should thank Ron for his hard work and passion in promoting Staffordshire to the world.”