FEP Seeks New Chair

The 30 September 2020, will see a great change in the Forest Economic Partnership as Chair, Andrew Callard steps down following 2 ½ years in post. 

Andrew M Callard Aimed Business

At the FEP stakeholder meeting on 18 September, Vice Chair of the FEP, Bernie O’Neill and Leader of the Forest of Dean District Council paid tribute to Andrew Callard and the success the FEP has seen under his leadership.  

No one was more surprised than me and my closest colleagues, when I became leader of the district Council in July 2017. We sort of knew the things we wanted to do, but frankly didn't know how we would get there. One of those early decisions we made was that we wanted to set up a non political group of professionals who would have the interests of the Forests infrastructure and business future at their very core. Once we were gone again in a couple of months this group would be there to carry on looking after the long deprived business strategies of the Forest of Dean, that was the thinking anyway

I recall the first meeting we held, not sure who if anyone would turn up. They did and the rest as they say is history. But a great deal of that drive and history is down to the man who today steps down from his position of chairman.

When my colleague at the time Roger James and I were first introduced to Andrew Callard when we were seeking someone to lead this new economic partnership, within minutes we both knew we had found our man.

He got what we wanted, he knew where we needed to go and he shared many of the same frustrations and issues that we and many others had felt about the Forest's uncapped potential for so long.

I am so glad he agreed to become the first chair of the FEP. He has been a complete success.He is the reason the FEP is held in the esteem it is, and that it has the future it does.

The formation of the FEP will be something I shall look back on with enormous pride. For that I owe my sincere thanks to Andrew, as does the Forest business community. I wish you well in all you go on to do, I know it will be successful.

Good luck and thank you to a friend of the Council and a true friend of the Forest of Dean” -Tim Gwilliam, Leader of the Forest of Dean District Council and Cabinet Member for Overall Strategy. 

Bernie O’Neill added:

I'd like to thank Andrew for his invaluable contribution to the FEP since April 2018. He has been Chair of the Stakeholder Group, CIC Board from October 2019, the many sub-group meetings in between the main stakeholder meetings and his tireless work helping to co-ordinate and inform consultation responses and funding applications on behalf of the FEP.

Andrew, when everything is back to something like the old norm we shall be giving you a more formal presentation, which we would have done today but unfortunately circumstances prevented it.

Thank you very much for all your hard work which has enabled the FEP to reach the stature and position which we see today.” -  Bernie O’Neill, Vice Chair of FEP 

Andrew Callard will continue to work with the FEP in his role as director of the CIC Board and the new chair will be selected by the Stakeholder Group. The board of directors and the stakeholders would like to take this opportunity to wish Andrew the best of luck in growing Aimed Business, his own business consultancy and his other endeavors.  His contribution will continue to be valued in the months to come.

Nominations process for the new chair will be open until 30th September, for more information, please contact FEP@fdean.gov.uk