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Who we are.

The private sector led Thames Estuary Growth Board, headed up by Government appointed Envoy Kate Willard OBE, brings together key business and political leaders from across North Kent, South Essex, East London, the City of London and the River Thames. Working together as a single, coherent voice, the Growth Board are here to drive forward their action plan, ‘The Green Blue’.

Kate Willard OBE

Chair and Thames Estuary Envoy

Kate Willard OBE is Chair of the Growth Board and the Government appointed Thames Estuary Envoy. She is the driving force behind our ambitious plans to transform the area.

Kate is an independent consultant working on a diverse portfolio of infrastructure and growth projects. She has lived and worked in Hungary, France and Belgium as an expert with the European Commission. Kate has led a number of major transnational projects in employment, social cohesion and regional development. She established the first UK-Hungarian cultural partnership trust and was CEO of the UK’s first rural regeneration company.

Kate is on Arts Council England National Council and Chairs the Board of Teesside International Airport. She is a Churchill Fellow and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), and a Commissioner for the National Infrastructure Commission.

Smiling headshot of Kate Willard OBE Estuary Envoy and Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board

Executive Team.

David Godfrey

David Godfrey leads our Green Places workstream including major Economic, Housing & Infrastructure work with partners to release good growth, our relationship with the Thames Estuary Production Corridor and Creative Estuary and is leading the development of our inward investment programme.

David is a Policy Advisor at Kent County Council with wide-ranging experience from working closely with Council Leaders and Cabinet Members, both within the authority and nationally.

In addition to his current role in the promotion of economic development and local growth in Kent, David worked closely with Lord Heseltine in Government supporting the early development of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission.

David has been Policy Advisor on Local Government and Local Growth to two Secretaries of State, Director of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and a Westminster Chief of Staff. He has worked in the public, private and voluntary sectors. David is a Visiting Fellow of the Localis think tank for whom he has written two national reports on local economic growth.

Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis is our lead on hydrogen development, Thames Freeport as well as and government relations in Essex.

Ian is Executive Director of Opportunity South Essex (OSE), a private sector led public-private partnership which promotes economic growth across South Essex.

Ian is passionate about promoting the Thames Estuary’s inward investment opportunities – landing businesses successfully as well as decarbonisation and infrastructure.

After starting his career as a Civil Engineer, working in both public and private sector across highway, transport and coastal projects, Ian took the opportunity to move into Economic Development and Regeneration in 2006. He has led a number of projects across Kent and Essex in a range of roles. He has been actively involved with South Essex since 2015.

Sarah Murray

Sarah Murray is the Director of Local London, the sub-regional partnership for the 8 East and North-East London boroughs. She has an extensive career in local and regional Government, leading partnerships and advocating at UK and EU levels.

Sarah began her career working for the Committee of the Regions of the EU in Brussels and ever since has been passionate about communicating the perspectives of local communities to national and EU governments, advocating for subsidiarity.

Sarah has a broad policy portfolio, including transport, innovation, regional policy and has also worked on financial services regulation for the Channel Islands and the City of London Corporation.

In addition to her roles in Local London and the Thames Estuary Growth Board, she is  a member of the London and South Productivity Forum.

Randal Smith

Randal Smith is our lead for making better use of the river.

Randal has a wide range of experience working in policy and strategy in local government. He has been Head of Policy in two East London local authorities and worked with local government around the world building capacity and local governance. As Leisure & Culture Commissioner in an East London borough he transformed the commissioning to deliver greater social impact. Randal was also the Director of Local London a collective of 8 outer East London local authorities. Previously, Randal was the Director of Strategy for a digital start-up business in the real estate sector growing it to profitability.

Randal is passionate about opening opportunities for all and using public and private levers to enable everyone to realise their potential. He is also passionate about making the place we live work for residents through planning and better use of assets. With the Thames Estuary Growth Board he is leading on the use of the Thames for waterborne light freight that will stem the rise of van deliveries on our roads. He is also leading the digital workstream.

Canadian-born Randal has lived in East London for 37 years. He read History at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where he was awarded a PhD.


Alan Jarrett

Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council, has been a councillor since the first elections held for the Medway Unitary Authority in 1997. Shortly after the 2000 election he was elected as Deputy Leader of Medway Council, a post he held for 15 years. Following the 2015 election Alan was elected as Leader.

Alan’s vision for the Thames Estuary is to ensure improvements in housing and business proceed at pace for the benefit of residents, businesses and visitors alike. He believes that it is essential regeneration means something to all of Medway’s people.

Alan is the author of 12 books on country sports and is a regular contributor to a national sporting magazine. In June 2020, he published his first novel.

Anna Dunne

Anna Dunne is Programme Director for the City of London Corporation’s Markets Consolidation Programme. In her role, she is working to move the three City wholesale markets (Billingsgate, New Spitalfields and Smithfield) to a single location at Dagenham Dock.

Anna is a chartered surveyor and management consultant with over 20 years’ experience working for PwC and Deloitte delivering complex real estate projects for public and private sector clients.

Since becoming an interim consultant, Anna has worked for the Ministry of Justice and the Cabinet Office before moving to the City in 2018.

Chris Hossack

Chris Hossack has served in Local Government since 2003 as an elected Councillor. He became Leader of Brentwood Borough Council in 2019 having fulfilled senior roles in Planning, Housing, Environmental Services, Community Services, Policy & Resources and Economic Development.
Chris chaired the Brentwood Community Safety Partnership for a number of years and sits on the Police, Fire & Crime Panel for Essex. Other roles include Vice Chairman of the Association of South Essex Local Authorities and Board Member of Opportunity South Essex.
Having studied engineering, Chris graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 1997.
Chris is determined to see that the Thames Estuary area and South Essex play a vital role for UK recovery in global trading.

Jeremy Kite MBE

Jeremy Kite has been Leader of Dartford Borough Council since 2006 and a Member of Kent County Council since June 2009, where he is a Deputy Cabinet Member.

Jeremy is a Director of Dartford Football Club and is involved with several local charities and groups. He has a particular interest in civic design – he has worked with designer Wayne Hemingway on a housing development, with architect Ken Shuttleworth on Dartford Dojo, and his council was responsible for commissioning the award-winning Princes Park football stadium.

In 2015 he was appointed to the Board of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation by the Secretary of State.

Jeremy was awarded an MBE in 2012.

Teresa O’Neill OBE

Teresa O’Neill was elected to Bexley Council to represent Brampton Ward in May 1998 and was re-elected to serve Crook Log Ward.

Teresa holds many posts, including chairman of Bexley Health and Wellbeing Board; member of Thames Gateway Strategic Group; and a Board Member of Homes England.

In 2014, she introduced an innovative and forward-looking plan to help residents in difficult times. In 2015, she was awarded an Order of the British Empire (Officer) for service to the community and local government in London.

A Londoner through and through, Teresa is passionate about the Thames and all it can offer. She has a keen vision to make sure people have the opportunity to live and work in green surroundings with good access to schools, transport and healthier lifestyles.

Darren Rodwell

Darren Rodwell became Leader of Barking & Dagenham Council in 2014. Since then, he has established the borough as one of the most important growth opportunities in London. Both he and the Council have won numerous awards, including LGC Council of the Year for 2018  and the LGIU Leader of  the  Year  Award.

Since 2016, Darren has served on the London Councils Executive – first as the Executive Member for City Development and now as the Executive Member for Housing and Planning. In his current role he has prioritised the delivery of truly affordable housing in the capital, fire safety, reducing homelessness and reducing the use of temporary accommodation.

Darren is a member of the Homes for Londoners Board, Arts Council England, the Arts Council for London and the Create London Board and has most recently been appointed as the Vice Chair on the Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board.

Jules Pipe

Jules Pipe is Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration & Skills. In his role, he is working on key priorities for the Mayor, including revision of the London Plan; major regeneration projects across the capital; ensuring London’s infrastructure needs are delivered to benefit all Londoners; and building a skills system that properly addresses the needs of young people and the economy.

Jules has extensive knowledge of London government, becoming the first directly elected mayor of Hackney in 2002 and serving as Chair of London Councils from 2010 until he joined the Mayor’s team in 2016.

Perry Glading

Perry Glading is currently chair of Thurrock Business Board and Opportunity South Essex, is a main board director of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, and runs his own consultancy business.

Perry has extensive experience in the ports and logistics sector, having previously held main board appointments with Port of Tilbury and Forth Ports and with Geest North Sea Line BV.

He was appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport as Non-Executive Director of the Dover Harbour Board and is currently the Deputy Chair.

After spending 25 years working in and around the Thames, Perry is excited to see the region enhanced for future generations.

Robin Mortimer

Robin Mortimer joined the Port of London Authority (PLA) as Chief Executive in 2014. The PLA is responsible for promoting the safe and sustainable use of the tidal River Thames.

Prior to joining the PLA, Robin had 20 years experience in the UK civil service working on transport, environment, infrastructure and overseas development.

Robin was the lead author of the UK Climate Change Act, which became law in 2007. As a Director in Defra, he led the Government’s Adapting to Climate Change programme, oversaw creation of the Canal & River Trust, and directed policy on farming and the environment.

Robin is a member of the CBI’s London Council and, since 2012, a trustee of the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Roger Gough

Roger Gough became Leader of Kent County Council in October 2019. Having served as the Member for Darent Valley – now Sevenoaks North and Darent Valley – since 2005, he previously held the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education as well as other Cabinet roles since 2006.

Roger sits on the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board and Chairs the South East Strategic Partnership for Migration board. He has a strong record of national politics through work for think tanks such as the Policy Exchange and Localis.

Before entering local government, Roger worked in investment banking for sixteen years, including living and working in Japan for three years. He has written widely on policy issues and is the author of two books.

Stephen Dance

Stephen is Director of Infrastructure Delivery for the Infrastructure and Projects Authority.

He has more than 30 years of experience in infrastructure projects. Recently his focus has been on the delivery of the UK’s critical economic infrastructure projects in transport, energy, water, waste and telecommunications, as well as the provision of infrastructure to deliver urban regeneration and housing.

Stephen is also a Non-Executive Director of Local Partnerships. Previously Stephen headed Partnerships UK’s major projects division and whilst at DTZ advised on a broad range of real estate areas, ranging from the privatisation of BAA to complex transactions such as the BBC’s property Public – Private Partnership (PPP) and the sale of British Coal non-mining assets.

In his current role, he leads a delivery team of commercial specialists that are deployed actively across government to provide advice, expertise and experience on the delivery of complex major projects including High Speed Two (HS2), Rural Broadband, Thames Tideway Tunnel, Mersey Bridge and Hinkley Point.

Ken Dytor

Ken Dytor is the founder and executive chairman of Urban Catalyst, a London-based developer specialising in large-scale mixed-use regeneration projects.

Ken started his career in the Crown Estate, before working at British Land, the FTSE-100 commercial and retail property giant. Ken was also Chair of the International Student House, a charity dedicated to providing affordable accommodation, scholarships and other support for overseas students in London.

Urban Catalyst has a successful track record of delivering public-private partnerships and developments with a strong social infrastructure or creative industries’ component, such as the £1bn regeneration of Purfleet-on-Thames town centre.

Ken’s expertise saw him previously chair the Development and Regeneration Committee of the British Property Federation, the trade body of the UK real estate industry.

Through his other business ventures, Ken has also cultivated links with private businesses, higher education institutions and regional and national governments both in the UK and in the Far East for the past 10 years, promoting cross-border investment as well as greater collaboration between East Asia and the UK more generally.

Devrim Celal

Devrim is an experienced and versatile executive with start-up, blue chip management consultancy and finance background working with organisations such as Upside Energy, Yale University,  Sapient and Kearney. He has over twenty-four years of experience in leadership positions across a variety of industries,sectors and geographies.

He is currently the Chief Executive of Upside Energy – one of UK’s innovative and fast-growing energy technology companies. He has overall responsibility for the business and has seen it grow from a 4-person start-up to a leading technology player. While at Kearney, Devrim excelled in strategy development and thought leadership, winning a number of awards for his contributions. At Sapient Corporation (acquired by Publicis), he worked with the executive team to establish and grow Sapient across Europe and broaden its capabilities. Since Sapient, he has been a serial entrepreneur investing and growing business in commercial real estate development, reinsurance brokerage and corporate finance advisory.

He holds an MBA from Yale University, and serves a Member of the Board of Governors of Yale Alumni Association. He is an avid endurance athlete,running ultra distance races to raise funds for MS related charities.

Martha Grekos

Martha is a Director (Barrister) at Martha Grekos Legal Consultancy Limited. She specialises in Planning Law and Policy. She helps clients gain planning permission for large complex urban regeneration projects and strategic residential developments and major infrastructure projects, mainly transport and energy. She has worked on some of the most complex and politically sensitive projects in London and nationwide. She is also currently a member of the Mayor of London’s infrastructure Advisory Panel and a strategic advisor to the Civil Aviation Authority advising on process, policy and key decisions surrounding the expansion of Heathrow Airport.

Before returning to independent practice, Martha was a Partner and Head of Planning at a top city law firm. She also taught planning law at the University of Cambridge after she graduated from there with a Masters in Law. She writes for many of the leading planning and real estate publications and is an Editorial Board Member for Lexis Nexis and is invited to speak regularly at many conferences.

Martha is ranked as one of the most influential women in planning (Planner, 2020), ranked in Chambers UK (2019) as an “up and coming” planning lawyer in London and recommended as a “Leading Planning Junior” in Legal 500 (2019).

Martha was born and lives in London. She is passionate about London and believes that the planning and delivery of London’s infrastructure can be improved for the benefit of residents, the environment, the economy and wider society. Martha has always given back to her profession, the City and to charity and is an advocate for nurturing talent from all backgrounds and providing access and opportunities to all to thrive. She is champion for diversity and inclusion in all spectrums in the real estate sector given the organisations and committees she is involved in and her own personal background.  

Gavin Chapman

Gavin is Managing Director, Co-Head Principal Investments, at Barclays.

He has 28 years of financial services experience across both buy-side and sell-side businesses.

He joined Barclays in 2003 in the credit trading division, working in both London and New York.

From 2008, Gavin became Chief Operating Officer of the Funds and Advisory business of the investment bank, which managed £5bn of institutional investor money invested in equity, debt and alternative asset classes and across a variety of geographies.

From 2014-17, Gavuin ran Business Divestment for Barclays Non-Core, selling over twenty businesses globally.

He is currently responsible for a £3bn portfolio of mainly private equity investments for both the Bank and top tier institutional co-investors.

Before Barclays, he worked in a variety of Audit, Finance and business support roles in Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank and Deloitte.

Gavin is a Member of Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and Association of Corporate Treasurers.

Ray Mia

In a 25-year career working across various disciplines of media, Ray has worked with some of the biggest names in music, including The Beatles, Justin Bieber, Pavarotti, Morricone, Elton John and Queen.

He has had a rich and varied career including spells in live sports broadcasting, eSports gaming, and 24hr news gathering for the likes of CNN, AP, Reuters and The United Nations.

Working with connectors, mavens & salespeople, Ray is a seasoned expert in broadcast strategy, content production, programme scheduling, commercial planning & sustainable revenue generation. He is also an award-winning TV producer who has worked with Fortune 500 brands and multinational media conglomerates supporting their digital go-to-market strategies.

Ray also sits on the Board of Trustees for The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, one of the most successful regional Theatres in the UK – pioneering a programme of local and national performances to great commercial, critical and cultural acclaim.

He also launched Jacaranda Records, an immersive music production and sound design company in the heart of Liverpool.

Emily Buckley

Emily is a strategy manager at Lightsource bp, a global solar developer in which bp owns a 50% stake.

Since joining the firm in 2017, her accomplishments include supporting bp’s initial $200 million investment, helping to start a green private equity fund in India and leading Lightsource bp’s expansion into Egypt.

Emily started her career in consulting and private equity, and holds a first-class degree in Economics from UCL.

In 2019, she was listed in both the “Forbes 30 under 30” and bp’s International Women’s Day list of “women advancing the energy transition”.

In her free time, Emily is an advocate of “zero waste” living and has invested in a zero-waste beauty & personal care retail start-up.”

Carla Guerrera

As a globally recognized real estate development professional, Carla combines the fields of real estate development and urban planning. Carla has delivered over $1B of complex, mixed-use real estate development across Canada’s top markets over the past 20 years. Notable projects include leading the West Don Lands waterfront revitalization on Toronto’s waterfront, one of the world’s most advanced waterfront revitalization initiatives. Carla has been awarded the prestigious Urban Land Institutes “Top 40 Under 40” Global Land Use Professionals Award, as well as Business in Vancouver’s “Top 40 Under 40” Award. Carla is the Founder and CEO of Purpose Driven Development and Planning, a company which brings a proven approach to unlocking successful development in our complex urban environments for developers, public sector and First Nations clients to create communities where we can all thrive.

Carla is an international thought leader and speaker on innovative approaches to development and city building. She also serves on several boards including the British Columbia Pavilion Corporation, Gitga’at First Nation Economic Development, and is a Founding Member of the ULI Women’s Leadership Initiative in BC.

Kevin Bentley

Cllr Kevin Bentley is the Leader of Essex County Council and Member for Stanway and Pyefleet.

Kevin Bentley was elected to Essex County Council in 2009 and appointed as the Deputy Cabinet Member to the Leader. Having served two years in this post he was promoted to the Cabinet in 2011 and appointed Deputy Leader to the Council 2013, where he led on Economic Growth and Infrastructure. He was elected Leader of the Council in May 2021.

Kevin is also a Colchester Borough Councillor and has previously been Leader of the Conservative Group in Colchester. He has also served in the Colchester Borough Councillor Cabinet of holding the portfolio for Business, Tourism and Leisure. He has also stood for Parliament twice in Colchester. Outside of politics Kevin is the Chairman of the awarding winning PR agency Mosaic Publicity and is a journalist by profession. Before leaving to set up Mosaic Publicity in 2000 he spent 20 years working for the BBC as a radio and television reporter and producer.

He is also Chairman of LGA Brexit Task & Finish Group and Chairman of LGA People’s and Places Board.

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Action plan.

Map of the estuary region.