Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Board has been bolstered by new private sector talent with the appointment of Wheathampstead-resident Chris Hulatt, co-founder of Octopus Group. Launched in 2000, the company’s fund-management division is a major investor in key sectors including renewable energy, venture capital and healthcare property, while its energy arm founded five years ago is a leading challenger energy supplier.

Named EY UK Entrepreneur of the Year 2017, Chris is passionate about British entrepreneurialism and advocates to Government and business leaders for policy ideas to drive business growth. He is an advisor to The Entrepreneurs Network and a member of the Advisory Council of Regenerate - a think-tank that works to make it easier start, grow and lead purpose-driven businesses.

Chris is also Chairman of Online Giving, known as Enthuse – a digital fundraising solutions provider to the charities sector; and non-executive director of Clearly So, Europe’s leading impact focused investment bank specialising in fundraising for purposeful businesses and funds. Chris takes over as business representative from John Beswick, Chief Financial Officer at BT Technology, who stepped down from the LEP Board in August.

Mark Bretton, Chair of Hertfordshire LEP, said: “I would like to thank John for the time he has dedicated to the LEP Board since March 2019, and the valuable contribution he has made. I wish him all the best for the future. I am also delighted to welcome Chris to the LEP Board. He brings highly relevant, entrepreneurial skills right at a time when our economy needs them most. I am sure he will offer a new dimension.”

Further LEP appointments include Bhavin Shah, Finance Director of Watford-based family business Sigma Pharmaceuticals plc, who joins the Programme Management Committee (PMC) - a sub-group of the Hertfordshire LEP Board responsible for scrutinising the LEP’s spending and governance, and overseeing performance and risk across key programme areas.

LEP Board member Ceri Humphrey, Finance Director at engineering and construction firm VolkerFitzpatrick, based in Hoddesdon, will Chair the Programme Management Committee from February 2021, taking over from Neil Rutledge, who was appointed Deputy Chair of the LEP Board in July.

Neil Rutledge, Deputy Chair of Hertfordshire LEP, said: “The Programme Management Committee plays a vital role in ensuring the LEP invests funds effectively and provides value for money, in addition to challenging any areas where performance could be improved. I am delighted to welcome Ceri into the role of PMC Chair and Bhavin as PMC member. We look forward to benefitting from their wealth of experience.”

Mark Bretton added: “I am pleased that Ceri is taking over as Chair of PMC. This is a vitally important committee which Neil has admirably chaired. I am confident that Ceri will bring her depth of experience to bear very quickly. A warm welcome also to Bhavin.”

About the Hertfordshire LEP Board

LEP Board Members are elected to serve for a three-year period, following an open and transparent selection process. This can be extended to a maximum of six years in order to refresh the membership of the Board on a regular basis. The Board is set at a maximum of 16 members, of which nine are drawn from the private sector, to enable a strong team ethic, fully inclusive debate and a capacity for rapid decisions.

Meet the Hertfordshire LEP Board.

Download the Hertfordshire Recovery Plan 2020.