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New board appointments to bolster investment and innovation in the region

31st October 2022

The Thames Estuary Growth Board has appointed four new members adding new global, commercial, legal and infrastructure experience as it supports investment and innovation in the region. In addition to these new appointments, existing Board Member Gavin Chapman has been appointed Deputy Chair.

Gavin Chapman, Managing Director, Co-Head Principal Investments at Barclays Bank, is already Chair of the Board’s Finance Sub-Committee and jointly leads the region’s pioneering hydrogen ambitions. His appointment to Deputy Chair marks an important step-change as the Growth Board accelerates its move towards attracting investment into the region.

The four new high-level appointments bolster the Growth Board’s global, commercial, legal and infrastructure experience reflecting the existing direction of travel.

Vera Kukic, who leads on Sustainability in the Financial Services sector for IBM’s Strategy Consulting, joins the Growth Board. Vera’s experience from a career spanning over 20 years in the finance sector where she has worked in strategy, model design, and business restructuring will be key to the Growth Board as it moves into its investment-focussed phase.

Equally pivotal, leading Disability Rights Lawyer Chris Fry, who is listed on the Shaw Trust Power 100 list of the most influential disabled people in the UK, joins the Growth Board. Chris’s legal expertise and an iron-clad track record of helping the Deaf and Disabled Community access every day and public services will be invaluable in helping the Board achieve its ambitions with their ‘Green Spaces’ agenda and in particular their planned work with the Estuary Path.

Head of Strategic Land at real estate company ALMCOR, Rupert Wood will reinforce the Growth Board’s regeneration and development expertise. Rupert currently oversees a significant portfolio of regeneration projects in key locations and has previously managed major urban regeneration developments in Norwich, Warrington and on the South Bank.

Completing these first-class appointments, Peter Hogg joins from Arcadis where he leads on placemaking. A Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Peter brings 24 years of hugely complementary industry experience, where he has worked on some of London’s biggest infrastructure programmes including St Pancras International Station and the Jubilee Line Extension alongside his extensive global reach and credentials.

The appointments signal an important step for the Growth Board as they move to secure private sector led investment for ambitious plans as set out in their Action Plan, The Green Blue. The plan sets out the Board’s Good Green Growth vision for unlocking the Thames Estuary’s potential to add £190 billion GVA and 1.3 million new jobs to the region by 2050.

The Growth Board supports key infrastructure projects, including the Lower Thames Crossing, and are developing their Global Works Programme to link with and draw on best practice from estuaries across the world to deliver Good Green Growth. Similarly, the team is seeking sustainable investment to make the most of the Estuary’s natural assets to benefit the region’s communities and the UK. As part of this, the Growth Board is working to accelerate the use of the river and piers to move goods which will reduce congestion and emissions on our roads.

In the same vein, the Growth Board are creating an Estuary-wide hydrogen ecosystem that will support net zero targets and play a key role in the UK’s hydrogen strategy. It is estimated that by 2035 demand for hydrogen manufacture and supply in the Estuary could eliminate up to 5.9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year and support more than £2.2 billion of investment.

Thames Estuary Envoy and Growth Board Chair Kate Willard OBE praised the appointments: “I am delighted to welcome our new Board Members. The Thames Estuary Growth Board comprises some of the most brilliant business and elected member brains and the most dedicated people you will ever find. Each of our new members is hugely talented in their field and will be an enormous asset to this already fabulous Growth Board. I am looking forward to working with all of them as we work together to play our crucial role in unlocking the potential of the Thames Estuary, attracting investment, and supporting infrastructure and job creation in the region.”

New Deputy Chair Gavin Chapman said: “As Deputy Chair, I look forward to continuing to work with Kate and the Growth Board to drive investment to the region and secure the growth that the region needs. My predecessor helped guide the Growth Board steadily through its first years as we developed our initial vision and workplan, I intend to continue his excellent work as we move into our next phase and build towards attracting and accelerating investment into the region.”

Read more about our fantastic Board Members.


For press enquiries, please contact:

Ed Sawyer, iNHouse Communications 07936 905109 /