This month we had the pleasure of sitting down with the Chief Executive of Coast to Capital LEP, over a splendid lunch at Stanmer House in Falmer, to find out more about Coast to Capital and the man driving its progress. Interview by Maarten Hoffmann.

Coast to Capital is a Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and, having signed a Growth Deal with central Government, it has begun a six-year programme of investment in jobs, infrastructure and transport in the region.

Before we explore the LEP, can you tell me a little about your background, Ron?

'I have enjoyed a varied business life, having started with Grand Metropolitan and Mecca Leisure, where l achieved a management buy-out (MBO) for £8.5m. I also owned a hotel in the Lake District and then went on to establish a food manufacturing company, Signature Leisure, also via an MBO, with over 100 employees and a turnover of £5m. I joined West Sussex County Council in 2005 to develop a new team and economic strategy, and l am delighted to now take on the exciting challenge of Coast to Capital.'

What is the primary remit of the LEP?

'Jobs. We want to create 100,000 jobs in the next 25 years. That’s our banner, that’s our master. Everything we do will be dictated by how many jobs we can help to create.'

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Ron Crank