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Old Edwardian named Chairman of Birmingham & Solihull LEP

27 May 2011

Old Edwardian Andy Street (1981), Managing Director of John Lewis, has been appointed Chairman of the new organisation set up to boost the economy of Birmingham and Solihull.

Andy took up his new role on 1st May at the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which takes over support for economic growth in the area from regional development agency Advantage West Midlands.

Although based in London, he will be making frequent trips to the West Midlands to fulfil his role at the partnership, which brings together members from the public and private sector. 

Andy has his work cut out for him at the LEP as much of its area suffers from high rates of unemployment and low private sector growth - but he said he was looking forward to the task ahead.

"The LEP development board has already outlined ambitious plans for the continuing economic rejuvenation of the region, and it will be a privilege to help deliver these plans," he said. "As a Midlander myself, I am personally excited by the prospect of using the skills I have developed as managing director of John Lewis for the benefit of the citizens of the region."

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP is one of the largest nationally, comprising nine local authorities - Birmingham, Solihull, Cannock, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Tamworth, Bromsgrove, Redditch and Wyre Forest.

Andy first developed an interest in business and economics during his time at King Edward's, "Jack Cook, Head of Economics, was my most influential teacher. He taught us like adults, not children, and made the subject come alive," he said. After leaving school Andy studied at Oxford University before joining John Lewis in 1985 as a graduate trainee. He became Managing Director in 2007.

John Lewis has 28 department stores and four John Lewis at home shops across the UK, including a branch in Solihull. In February this year, it announced that in 2014 it will open a new full-line department store in Birmingham, adjacent to New Street station.

John Lewis is part of the John Lewis Partnership, the UK's largest example of worker co-ownership where all 76,500 staff are Partners in the business. It employs almost 1,350 people in the region, at both John Lewis and Waitrose. This will rise to 2,000 following the opening of the Birmingham store.