A local enterprise partnership has appointed the former head of operations at advisory and support service Business Link West Midlands as its new director.
Gill Hamer has joined Marches LEP's board and will play a central role in working to deliver its vision for economic growth across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.
The director position is the first of five new roles created by the partnership which is led by a private sector board working with the counties' three local authorities.
The LEP is tasked with creating the conditions for prosperity and sustainable job creation across the Marches.
She is currently partnerships director with the Manufacturing Advisory Service and was previously head of business support with Advantage West Midlands following a 13-year stint with HM Diplomatic Service.
Chairman of Marches LEP Graham Wynn OBE said: "Gill is a hugely experienced operator when it comes to knowing how best businesses can be supported and that, coupled with her proven leadership skills and project management background, will be a great asset to the Marches LEP.
"From being strategic bodies with little funding or resource to deliver economic visions, LEPs are now responsible for channelling billions of pounds worth of government and European funding into their communities.
"This means that we need a strong team to build on the excellent work carried out so far in partnership with the three local authorities in the region and I'm confident that Gill is the right person to lead this work as we progress."
Ms Hamer added: "The Marches is home to a £10 billion economy and more than 28,000 businesses - the vast majority of these are SMEs but we also have household names which have chosen to base their operations here.
"This demonstrates the Marches is not only a great place to locate and invest but also where businesses can originate, develop and grow.
"I'm looking forward to working with the LEP Board, partners, stakeholders and the business community as the LEP moves into its next phase following the £75m Growth Deal for the region negotiated with government"