Chief executive Sarah Kemp departs LEP for university role

Sarah Kemp, chief executive of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, has been appointed as pro-vice chancellor for engagement at Lancaster University.

She will succeed Professor Dame Sue Black, who has held the post at the university since 2018.

In her new role, due to start in July, Sarah will provide strategic leadership in driving forward Lancaster's engagement plan.

This includes leading on engagement with staff, students and all local, regional and external stakeholders. Her remit will also cover core aspects of the government’s levelling up agenda, including regional funding.

Sarah joined the LEP in April 2020 and has helped steer the county through several major challenges including Covid-19, Brexit, and the government’s net zero targets.

During her time in the role the LEP has also secured millions in new funding to support economic growth across Lancashire through a wide mix of infrastructure, skills, transport, R&D and business support programmes.

Sarah also played a key role in the government’s decision to locate the National Cyber Force (NCF) in the county, a project which is set to add billions to the regional economy and create thousands of new jobs throughout the supply chain.

She established a number of business-led sector groups which have informed a wide range of investment strategies.

Debbie Francis, who chairs the LEP, said: “On behalf of the LEP board and all our partners, I would like to thank Sarah for the significant contribution she has made to the county during her time as CEO.

“She has helped Lancashire navigate the unprecedented impacts of the pandemic, the commercial consequences of Brexit, and the need to develop a greener, more inclusive and innovation-led economy.

“Sarah was also heavily instrumental in bringing the National Cyber Force HQ to Samlesbury, a transformational project which will unlock billions of new investment across the county, and the wider North West.

“We wish her every success in her role at Lancaster University and look forward to working with her in her new capacity when she takes up the post later in the summer. Sarah will continue as LEP CEO until that time.

“The LEP board and the LEP company members, which include Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council, and Blackburn with Darwen Council, are currently in discussions regarding succession, and details will be announced in due course.”