• The Board

The GFirst LEP board members and executives keep us focused on our goals and ensure that we fund the right projects.

Dr Diane Savory OBE DL

Dr Diane Savory OBE DL

Chair

Diane is the Chair of GFirst LEP and represents Gloucestershire as part of the Future High Streets Forum with the High Streets Minister. In 2013, Diane was awarded an OBE in recognition of her work with GFirst LEP and her contribution to business, and was appointed as a Deputy Lord-Lieutenant in 2015.

With a passion for fashion, Diane studied retail and exhibition design at Cassio College, Watford. After joining Cult Clothing, the predecessor of SuperGroup Plc, she rapidly progressed through the organisation to become its Chief Operating Officer, transforming the company from a small, local enterprise to the now-distinctive global fashion retailer that is Superdry. Furthermore, she has mentored businesses to help them succeed in today's challenging environment and is a board member for a number of organisations.

David Owen

David Owen

Chief Executive

David is Chief Executive of GFirst LEP, one of the most successful Local Enterprise Partnerships in the UK. He is also currently a Non-Executive Director of the responsible finance provider South West Investment Group (SWIG), and training and business development company, Gloucestershire Enterprise Ltd.

David is a member of the International Advisory Committee of the International Economic Development Council. He is also the previous President of the Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce and former Chairman of the South West UK Business Advisory Group. He has a BA (Hons) in business studies and an MA in leading change. Follow David on Twitter: @CEOGFirst.

Adam Starkey

Adam Starkey

Vice Chair

Adam Starkey is a British innovator and founder and CEO of Green Gourmet, an award-winning food company based in Gloucestershire. Driven by his passion for healthy eating, wellbeing and making things happen, he has forged a unique business model that has, in turn, transformed the fortunes of a number of other UK businesses.

As a pioneering thinker, he coaches and mentors people and businesses looking to transform themselves and realise their dreams. A futurist at heart, Adam believes that success comes from personal motivation and engaging head-on with technical change.

Roman Cooper

Roman Cooper

Roman Cooper is Executive Director of Allcooper Group, which specialises in security and fire systems for businesses, homes and private clients. As our Small Business Champion, he helps us to support businesses across the county, and has been part of the GFirst LEP board for six years.

Roman also champions apprentices and has done so for many years. In 2016, he helped create a specific security training programme with SGS College for apprentices, which had great success and is now being embraced by the industry. In celebration of his support for apprentices, he won an award for Outstanding Contribution to Apprenticeships of Gloucestershire at the Gloucestershire Apprenticeship Awards 2015.

Cllr Steve Jordan

Cllr Steve Jordan

Steve is the Leader of Cheltenham Borough Council and represents Leadership Gloucestershire on the GFirst LEP board, which brings together public sector organisations that allocate and spend significant resources in Gloucestershire.

Steve was elected as Leader of Cheltenham Borough Council in 2008 and has a portfolio that includes responsibility for both economic development and strategic land use. Away from the council, Steve spent over 20 years in the IT industry, most recently as a programmer, systems analyst and project manager with Swiss Reinsurance.

Stephen Marston

Stephen Marston

Stephen Marston has been the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire since 2011. The university currently has over 9,500 full- and part-time students, and has four campuses located in Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Before joining the university, Stephen was Director General for Lifelong Learning and Skills in the former Department for Education and Skills (DfES), and, prior to that, Director of Skills Group. Stephen joined the Department for Education and Science in 1983, where he worked on a range of schools, further education, higher education, and finance issues in various posts across the department.

Michael D Warner

Michael D Warner

Michael is Chairman of the Warner Group, a family business he joined after studying mechanical engineering and business management. The Warner Group has 300 employees in the food, retail and motor industries, giving Michael beneficial experience in dealing with small- and medium-sized business within a range of sectors. As an active GL Ambassador, Michael believes that SMEs are a great driver for future growth in Gloucestershire.

Michael has lived and worked in Gloucestershire almost all his life and is a previous Director of Gloucester Rugby. He has chaired the Three Counties Agricultural Society Board for the last 10 years and is also Chair of the RHS Malvern Spring Show.

Neill Ricketts

Neill Ricketts

Neill is Chief Executive Officer of Versarien, a high technology company in Cinderford that specialises in the application of a patented manufacturing process for developing and supplying advanced engineering solutions to leading multinational firms.

With over 20 years of senior level experience in manufacturing and engineering companies, Neill has demonstrated success in introducing and commercialising new technology. As an active GL Ambassador and a member of the Advanced Engineering Sector Group, Neill is passionate about sharing his expertise to enthuse and inspire others.

Rob Loveday

Rob Loveday

Rob is the UK Aerospace Growth Strategy Director at GE Aviation, and is responsible for ensuring that we work together with our national and local communities to drive growth and economic benefit into our businesses and the UK economy. The benefits are tremendous, like shared investment in new technologies and skills training secured in Gloucestershire under the government’s Aerospace Growth Partnership initiative.

In his role on the board of GFirst LEP, and the board of the West of England Aerospace Forum, Rob shares his vast experience and knowledge with the local aerospace and general business communities.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne

Cllr Mark Hawthorne

Mark is the Leader of Gloucestershire County Council. Upon taking over as leader, Mark became the driving force behind the council’s Meeting the Challenge project – a fundamental redesign of how the council operates, with a view to saving £114 million over four years. Two years on, the programme is on target with £65 million already saved.

Looking to the future, Mark’s focus is continuing the economic stimulus programme and supporting Gloucestershire’s businesses, while keeping council tax as low as possible. A key task for the year ahead is to deliver a new highways contract that will improve how Gloucestershire’s roads are maintained, along with transforming social care and increasing the ability for communities to decide on and deliver more of the services that are important to them.

Russell Marchant

Russell Marchant

Russell Marchant, BSc (Hons), MBA, Cert.Ed.  Principal and CEO of Hartpury College since September 2012.  Previously Principal and CEO of Barony College, Dumfriesshire since August 2001.  An agriculturalist with a keen interest in all rural businesses.  Experienced in co-operative marketing at both operational and board level.  A keen member of the LEP Agri-Food & Rural Business Sector Group and newly appointed to the LEP Employment & Skills Board.  Excited about the potential that is all around us in Gloucestershire.  Passionate about all things land based and all sports, Hartpury is the right place for Russell!

GFirst LEP Team

The GFirst LEP team are working hard to keep everything ticking over – managing projects, helping promote funding calls, and facilitating opportunities.

You can view the latest board meeting minutes and various supporting documents by clicking on the buttons in the grey bar. A full archive of our board meeting minutes is available below.

Board Minutes Archive

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