Press release

Business Secretary welcomes appointment of Burberry Chair to lead Midlands Engine

Sir John Peace has been appointed to be the new Chair of the Midlands Engine.

He will lead the Midlands partnership which aims to drive up productivity and growth across the whole of the Midlands region from the Marches to the Wash.

Since the Business Secretary Sajid Javid launched the Midlands Engine’s initial plans last December (2015), the partnership has been working with businesses, universities, colleges and the public sector to deliver its ambition to create 300,000 new jobs and generate an additional £34 billion by 2030.

As the current Chair of both Standard Chartered plc and Burberry Group plc, Sir John’s extensive business experience across the financial and retail sectors will give him the ideal background to drive the region’s vision.

The new Midlands Engine Chair will be supported by a Strategic Supervisory Group composed of representatives from local authorities, business, universities, and an executive, which will work together to define, drive forward and communicate the Midlands Engine ambitions.

Sir John will continue to chair Midlands Connect, developing a transport strategy to improve the connectivity of the region’s key locations and drive economic growth.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

It is great news that Sir John Peace will take up the role of Chairman of the Midlands Engine. His business leadership experience and continued commitment to Midlands Connect will drive forward exactly what we want to achieve with the Midlands Engine.

These are exciting times for the Midlands - the economy is growing, businesses are thriving and inward investment is up. By capitalising on the region’s assets under Sir John Peace’s leadership, the Midlands can become even greater than the sum of its parts.

I would also like to thank David Frost for his time and dedication as interim Chair of the Midlands Engine. The publication of the prospectus under his leadership was an historic moment in firing up the Midlands Engine.

The new Chair of the Midlands Engine, Sir John Peace, said:

The Midlands Engine is a compelling opportunity to better represent the Midlands region, attract significant new investment and create more jobs. A huge amount of work has already been done by stakeholders from both the private and public sectors with the aim of growing the wider Midlands economy, and as the newly appointed Chairman I will do my best to make this very exciting vision become a reality.

Notes to editors

  1. Our long-term economic plan for the Midlands aims to add £34 billion to the Midlands economy by 2030 and 300,000 extra jobs.
  2. Under this government, the Midlands has been growing faster than the UK average excluding London and has created over 279,000 new jobs.
  3. Developed by local stakeholders, the Midlands Engine Prospectus sets out the ambitions, opportunities and challenges for the region.
  4. In February 2016, Sir John Peace was appointed as independent Chair of Midlands Connect and will continue this role alongside that of Midlands Engine Chairman.
  5. Sir John Peace joined the Board of Standard Chartered plc in 2007 as Deputy Chairman and was appointed Chairman in 2009. He is also Chairman of Burberry Group plc. Sir John has a strong financial services and retailing background. In 2000, Sir John became Group CEO of GUS plc, of which Experian and Burberry were a part. He spearheaded a major restructuring strategy to refocus the group, including the acquisition and disposal of more than 50 businesses worldwide. In 2002, Burberry was floated on the London Stock Exchange with Sir John Peace as its Chairman, a position he continues to hold. Burberry today is a leading global luxury brand with worldwide retail operations. In 2006, Sir John was appointed Chairman of Experian following the demerger of GUS plc, a position he held until he stepped down in July 2014. Sir John is committed to supporting his local community and has a long standing interest in education. In February 2016, Sir John Peace was appointed as independent Chair of Midlands Connect.