New chairman for Black Country LEP

A new chairman has been appointed at the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.

The new Black Country LEP chairman Tom Westley
The new Black Country LEP chairman Tom Westley

Tom Westley takes over from Stewart Towe after eight years in post.

He leads an 18 strong board with representatives from business and the local authorities across the Black Country.

Mr Westley has been an active Black Country LEP board member since May 2013, with a particular focus on the Black Country’s successful enterprise zones.

Sarah Middleton, chief executive of the Black Country Consortium, said: “We are delighted that Tom has stepped into this role. He brings a wealth of experience of advocating for the Black Country both here in the region but also nationally and internationally.

“We would also like to thank Stewart Towe for his amazing support, dedication and hard-work over the last eight years and will be celebrating his achievements over the coming months.”

Mr Towe is the executive group chairman of Smethwick's Hadley Group.

“Born in the Black Country and working here, the economic success of the area is important to me both on a personal and professional level and I hope through this new role I can continue to support the team in ensuring we continue to build the area’s reputation both within the Black Country and beyond.

“Stewart has made a very significant contribution to the Black Country in his role as chair of the LEP, it was fantastic to sit alongside him on the board. I hope to continue Stewart’s work in championing and driving forward the Black Country," said Mr Westley, who is the chairman of the Westley Group.

The Cradley Heath-based group is one of Europe’s largest copper-based alloy foundry and engineering groups consisting of five brands – Spunalloys, Walter Frank, FW Birkett, JT Price and Meigh & Westleys. The group employs more than 300 people and has a turnover of more than £30 million.

Mr Westley is also chairman of Westley Plastics, an independent specialist manufacturer of nylon components.

He will continue as board lead on enterprise zones and energy and chairman of the enterprise zones management steering group. He is also a member of the funding applications sub-group and a LEP representative on the Black Country Joint Advisory Group. He is also director of the West Midlands Growth Company.

In 2017, Tom was made Deputy Lieutenant to Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for the West Midlands.

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