DAVID Ralph, who has headed the Haven Gateway Partnership project in Suffolk and Essex for more than five years, is leaving for new role in the East Midlands.

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Mr Ralph, who was appointed as Haven Gateway chief executive in September 2007, is to take on the same title with the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, which covers the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire areas.

The Haven Gateway Partnership was created in 2001 as a joint private/public sector initiative to promote economic opportunities related to the ports covered by the Harwich Haven Authority.

Although many of projects involve the ports, maritime and logistics sectors, the partnership is also involved in low-carbon energy, information and communications technology, tourism and the creative industries.

During Mr Ralph’s time at the helm, he partnership had become more focused on project delivery, with its initiatives including the Low Carbon Freight dividend, which supports smaller firms in transferring freight from road to rail, and Innovation Martlesham, the hi-tech cluster organisation for businesses based at BT’s Adastral Park research site.

His departure comes at a time of change for the Haven Gateway Partnership, with Suffolk County Council about to end its financial support, although private sector backers from Suffolk, including BT and Hutchison Ports UK, which owns the Port of Felixstowe, are continuing their support.

Mr Ralph takes up his new role with D2N2 in March. He will be tasked with overseeing all of the LEP’s activities, including initiatives to boost job creation, skills development, economic growth and prosperity across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Before joining the Haven Gateway Partnership, he was chief executive of the Bristol New Deal for Communities (NDC) programme for six years and has also worked at the Norwich NDC, working to help regenerate some of the country’s most deprived urban estates.

Before that, he worked in London as a director of the Create regeneration project in Paddington and South Kilburn, and project manager for the Lewisham 2000 programme, helping to secure the Docklands Light Railway extension from Canary Wharf to Lewisham.

D2N2 chairman Peter Richardson said: “David has a vast amount of experience in economic development, regeneration and business engagement at a regional level, along with a number of solid achievements on his CV.

“Myself and the D2N2 Board look forward to working with him to drive forward the LEP’s economic strategy and deliver some of the exciting initiatives we have planned for 2013 and beyond.”

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