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Former JLR chief joins Innovation Board

Birmingham Mail logo Birmingham Mail 17/12/2018 Tamlyn Jones
a man wearing a suit and tie: Mike Wright, chairman of the West Midlands Combined Authority's Innovation Board © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Mike Wright, chairman of the West Midlands Combined Authority's Innovation Board

A former executive director with Jaguar Land Rover has been appointed chairman of the West Midlands Innovation Board.

Mike Wright will bring his expertise in global industry and engineering to help drive innovation and technological development across the region.

The new 'Innovation Board' has been set up by the West Midlands Combined Authority to bring six of the region's universities together with the business community to work on new projects.

A key focus will be to leverage more cash and investment into the region to support innovation.

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Mr Wright has more than 40 years of experience in the global automotive sector including his role as executive director of JLR from 2010 to 2016 where he helped drive the firm's international growth after Tata bought the company.

He has also been chairman of the West Midlands Confederation of British Industry Council and of the Automotive Investment Organisation and a director of the Engineering Employers' Federation.

He has non-executive roles with the WMG Academy Trust board, Aston University, Warwickshire County Cricket Club and is a governor at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Mr Wright said: "The West Midlands has a wonderful track record for innovation going right back to the Industrial Revolution.

"Today world-class universities and businesses large and small in the region are leading innovation on a global scale, encouraged by the Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street to compete on the international stage.

"The introduction of the WMCA Innovation Board will provide added impetus and I'm delighted to be given the opportunity to be its first chair."

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Mr Street added: "We are delighted that Mike is joining us to help drive innovation and growth.

"He enjoys the respect of both industry and the universities and will bring drive and the wealth of his experience to our new Innovation Board.

"We have been successful in securing support for research and development but I believe we can significantly increase the amount of innovation funding coming into the region through this better co-ordinated approach."

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