Top financial assistant chosen as temporary boss of Plymouth Freeport

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Richard May was a director of global financial giants Credit Suisse and Lehman Brothers and is currently boss of Oceansgate in Devonport

The head of Plymouth’s Oceansgate maritime industry center has been named acting boss of the new freeport. Richard May, who has also worked for some of the world’s biggest financial firms, has been appointed to lead the public-private Plymouth and South Devon Freeport for the next six months.

Mr May, currently responsible for Oceansgate and Marine Investment for Plymouth City Council, will take up his new role on August 1. On his LinkedIn page, he describes himself as a “natural leader” with a “wealth of business and general management experience acquired in large global companies”.

He was notably a director of the global financial giants Credit Suisse and Lehman Brothers and a former employee of Rothschild & Co. He also led the accounting firm PwC, the Kuwaiti trading company Abdul Aziz S Al-Babtain and Sons, and was director of support to businesses. and the innovation company Oxford Innovation until 2019.

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An expert in business strategy, strategic planning, outsourcing, global team management, leadership, innovation, agility, event management and budgeting, Mr. May has “a proven track record of managing global teams developing and retaining specialized skills”. His LinkedIn page also indicates that he has led complex systems integration, people and process improvement projects.

Mr May said: “It is a privilege to support the board as interim chief executive for the next six months as we work with our partners to launch the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport. Having led the project since the tender phase in late 2020, this role allows me to keep both hands on the wheel as we move towards final business case approval and the freeport becoming operational at the three sites of South Yard, Sherford and Langage.

The freeport of Plymouth and South Devon is one of only eight freeports planned for England by the government. It is expected to give the region an economic boost, create thousands of jobs and encourage millions of pounds of investment into Plymouth, South Hams and the wider region.

Plymouth and South Devon Freeport Ltd, a private limited company without share capital, was recently formed and is currently led by interim chairman Adrian Bratt, chief executive of Princess Yachts. It is a condition of the freeport designation that an independent company be formed with a president and a board of directors.

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A national recruitment campaign will be launched shortly to find both a permanent chairman and managing director for Plymouth and South Devon Freeport Ltd, with both positions due to be filled early next year. The freeport will be officially operational in the fall once the full business case has been approved.

Mr Bratt said: ‘A huge amount of work has been done to deliver on the ambition of Plymouth and South Devon Freeport, it’s great to have Richard on board so we can get started, make the whole port free operational so that the city and the wider region can begin to seize the opportunities that business offers.

Cllr Mark Shayer, Plymouth and South Devon Freeport Board Member, said: “I am pleased to announce that Richard May has been selected for the position of Freeport Chief Executive after a selection process involving a panel of three boards involved. in the business. To his credit, he has led the development of this project since 2020 and has intimate knowledge of all aspects of it. This is a pivotal moment that opens the door to an ever-accelerating program of key milestones allowing the Freeport to reach its full potential. »

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