The Plymouth and South Devon Freeport has appointed an interim CEO to guide the high profile public-private partnership project over the next six months. Richard May, currently Head of Oceansgate and Marine Investment for Plymouth City Council will take up the interim CEO role on 1 August 2022.

The Plymouth and South Devon Freeport is one of only eight Freeports planned for England by the government, it will provide an economic boost to the region, deliver thousands of jobs during its delivery and encourage millions of pounds of inward investment to Plymouth, South Hams and the wider region.

Plymouth and South Devon Freeport Limited, a private company limited by guarantee without share capital, was formed recently and is currently being led by Interim Chair, Adrian Bratt, Executive Director at Princess Yachts. It is a condition of Freeport designation, that an independent company is formed which has a chair and board of directors.

Adrian Bratt, interim Chair said: “An immense amount of work has been done to get the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport ambition to the point of realisation, it is great to have Richard onboard so that we can hit the ground running, get the whole Freeport operational so that the city and wider region can begin to grasp the opportunities that enterprise offers.”

Councillor Mark Shayer, board member of the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport added: “I’m pleased to announce that Richard May has been selected for the position of CEO of the Freeport after a selection process involving a panel from all three Councils involved in the venture. To his credit he’s led the development of this project since 2020 and has intimate knowledge of all its aspects. This is a pivotal moment and opens the door to an ever accelerating programme of key milestones leading to the Freeport reaching its full potential.”

Richard May, interim CEO said: “It is a privilege to be supporting Adrian and the board as interim CEO for the next six months as we work together with our range of partners to launch the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport. Having led the project since the bid stage in late 2020 this role enables me to keep both hands on the wheel as we steer towards the final business case being signed off and Freeport becoming operational across all three sites at South Yard, Sherford and Langage.”

A national recruitment campaign will be launched shortly to find both a permanent Chair and CEO for the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport Limited company with both posts expected to be filled by early next year. The Freeport will officially be operational in the autumn once the Full Business Case has been approved.