CHOOSE Suffolk, the private-public sector partnership which works to boost inward investment and tourism in the county, today named local businessman and councillor Tim Passmore as its interim chief executive.

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He will take up the reins at the partnership, based at the Felaw Maltings in Ipswich, at the start of December when current chief executive Celia Hodson begins a secondment as project director at the new Eastern Enterprise Hub, based at University Campus Suffolk.

Suffolk-born Mr Passmore, who lives in Eye, is an experienced businessman and has been leader of Mid Suffolk District Council since 2005.

“As someone who believes passionately in our county, its people and its future I am delighted to be leading Choose Suffolk,” he said.

“As a public private partnership Choose Suffolk offers a unique perspective. It creates an important bridge between those two sectors and I am very much looking forward to playing a leading role in that.”

Mr Passmore, who has worked around the world as an agribusiness consultant, added: “Here in Suffolk we have one of the most diverse, dynamic and fastest growing economies in the UK.

“I myself know the importance of the public sector working with business to develop and ensure Suffolk forges ahead. With the team at the maltings we’ll make sure that we get more and more people to do what we believe in – Choose Suffolk.”

Mr Passmore attended Ipswich School before moving on to the University of London where he majored in economics, management and marketing.

Andy Wood, chief executive of Southwold-based Adnams and chairman of Choose Suffolk, said: “We are delighted that Tim, with his experience and his passion, is joining us to lead our hard working team.

“As the previous chief executive of the Suffolk Hop Company, Tim was responsible for the re-establishing of Suffolk hop growing after a 200 year break. It’s that entrepreneurial spirit we greatly value and which will be a real asset to our county.”

Mr Passmore takes up his new role at a crucial state for economic development in Suffolk with the county having just joined forces with Norfolk to make a bid for a joint Local Enterprise Partnership, to be known as the New Anglia LEP, which will spearhead investment over the next decade and beyond.

He added: “Celia Hodson’s shoes will be tough ones to fill. She and the team have worked hard with their counterparts in Norfolk to make a powerful bid for the New Anglia LEP and I will do all I can to ensure that momentum continues into 2011.”

Celia Hodson, who in her seconded role will be based within the James Hehir Building at UCS in Ipswich, will continue to serve as a member of the Choose Suffolk board.

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