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Lord Haskins has today (Friday May 1) confirmed his retirement from the Chair role after eight years of service at the Humber LEP.

Lord Haskins announced his intention to retire in September 2019. He agreed to postpone his departure in light of local authorities’ devolution discussions, the outcome of which will determine how the role of the LEP needs to evolve. With the approach now agreed, it will likely take two to three years to negotiate and implement the new devolved arrangements.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus crisis has developed and will have a serious impact on the Humber economy for years to come. The LEP has been co-ordinating local work to support businesses through the crisis, and is developing plans to help the economic recovery.

Lord Haskins believes that transitioning political arrangements around the Humber and managing the economic response to the COVID-19 crisis will take two to three years. He has therefore decided that this is the time for him to retire.

The Board has accepted his resignation, and in line with the established governance rules, have elected an Interim Chair. Deputy Chair Stephen Parnaby OBE was the unanimous choice of the Board, and will be Interim Chair for the next two or three years. A permanent appointment will be made once devolved arrangements in the Humber have been established.  Simon Clarke MP, Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, has agreed to this proposal.

Lord Haskins will continue to contribute to the Humber LEP in different roles, with the Board requesting that he be involved with the LEP particularly with regard to its strategy for renewable energy development and clean growth.

The Local Industrial Strategy Lord Haskins has championed is expected to be published by Government later this year, setting out how the Humber Energy Estuary will continue to develop through further clean growth.  The LEP will also be putting a proposal to Government for a freeport to step up port-related manufacturing in the area.

Lord Haskins said: “After over eight years it is time for me to step down as Chair of the Humber LEP. The years ahead will be critical for the partnership as it works to support the economic recovery in the region and evolves its role in light of the devolution negotiations that will take place. It will be important to have stability during this period.

“I am delighted that Stephen Parnaby has accepted the Board’s offer to become Interim Chair. As a Board member and Deputy Chair, Stephen has been an invaluable support to me and has the skills and experience to lead the LEP through this period.  In a time of crisis places must pull together, so I hope the many businesses and other organisations which work with the LEP will give Stephen their full support and continue working hard together to help our region’s economy now and into the recovery.”

Stephen Parnaby OBE, Interim Chair of the Humber LEP, said: “Chris Haskins has been a tremendous Chair of the Humber LEP and will be sorely missed. He is an impossible act to follow.

“I am honoured to have been chosen to take on this interim role in the challenging circumstances our economy faces, and look forward to working with partners across the region to support the Humber to return to growth as soon as possible. The current crisis may have knocked us off course, but it does not lessen the many opportunities which lie ahead for our region.”

Simon Clarke MP, Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, said: “I congratulate Chris Haskins for his strong leadership of the Humber LEP. Both banks of the Humber owe him a great debt, and he will be much missed.

“The Humber has made great strides during his tenure and he has chaired the LEP with energy, passion, and considerable skill. On a cross-party basis, Chris leaves with all our sincere best wishes.”

Kishor Tailor, Chief Executive of the Humber LEP, said: “I would like to thank Lord Haskins for all his hard work as LEP Chair over the past nine years. His contribution to the Humber and his work championing the region cannot be understated.

“I am also very much looking forward to working with Stephen Parnaby as Interim Chair. His appointment is very much welcomed and as both our Deputy Chair and with his wealth of skills and experience both at the LEP and in his professional and public work across the Humber. His leadership skills will be vital during this important phase of LEP evolution.”