Two key figures have left the board of Leeds and Partners, the city’s investment and tourism agency.
There’s been no public announcement, but it turns out that the council-funded company’s vice-chairman Roger Marsh left at the end of last year, while Leeds Met University’s vice-chancellor Susan Price departed in early July.
No reasons for the departures are given in the official documents lodged with Companies House.
Marsh, a former senior partner at Price Waterhouse Cooper, is currently chair of the Leeds City Region’s Local Enterprise Partnership, the public-private body that awarded (without contest) a £2.25m inward investment contract last autumn to Leeds and Partners … of which he was then vice-chair.
Professor Price attended her last board meeting at the beginning of July. Her position as director was terminated on the 8th of the month.
Two days later Private Eye published THAT story about the temporary bankruptcy of Leeds and Partners chief exec Lurene Joseph.
The two have not been replaced yet. Ms Price still appears as a board member on the company’s website.
Return for council stake?
Where does all this leave the way Leeds and Partners is governed?
Call me an innocent in business affairs, but if I had a major stake in a company and was providing the bulk of its income, I’d expect to have a meaningful presence on the company’s board.
Not the case here.
Despite the fact that the council holds a 49% stake in Leeds and Partners and provides it with at least £1m a year (£2m in 2012-13 according to this report), there has been only one council representative – Executive Member for Development and the Economy Councillor Richard Lewis – on the board for the past year.
It wasn’t always that way.
Back in 2012 when Leeds and Partners arose Phoenix-like from the ashes of Marketing Leeds, its new board had two other council representatives: leader of the opposition Tories, Cllr Andrew Carter, and the council’s Assistant Chief Executive, James Rogers.
Cllr Carter is long gone. He lasted just eight months. Mr Rogers departed quietly in July last year.
No reasons for their departures were given.
Is the council happy with the current make-up of the board? We’ll never know. It doesn’t comment on Leeds and Partners affairs as, it says, it’s none of their business.
“All funding is governed by appropriate checks and balances with all grants monitored and audited,” they say.
That’s alright then.