A former West Midland car executive is to spearhead a new Government-funded initiative to allow firms to tap into a £200 million research and development project.
The High Value Manufacturing Catapult, which aims to provide crucial R&D expertise, has unveiled former Jaguar product development director Dick Elsy as chief executive, with fellow prominent regional business figure Bob Gilbert as chairman.
Mr Elsy, holder of a silver medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering for his outstanding contribution to British engineering, joins from his previous role as chief executive of green technology specialists Torotrak.
Prior to joining Torotrak in January 2003, he led the introduction of several new car programmes at Jaguar after previously working for BMW and Land Rover, where he helped devise the Freelander.
When he takes up the reins at the High Value Manufacturing Catapult from October 1, his main responsibility will be to ensure that the organisation maximises its impact on the growth of the manufacturing industry in the UK.
Combining seven centres of excellence around the country, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult aims to bridge the gap between business, academia and other research organisations, helping businesses develop and commercialise advanced technologies emerging from Britain’s world-class research base.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Catapults are key in making sure that we are building the groundwork for a bright future, and giving businesses the confidence to develop and market new and innovative products and technologies.
“ Dick Elsy has an excellent track record and exactly the sort of experience and skills in business, design and engineering which our Catapult centres need.”
Mr Elsy said: “To be asked to lead the High Value Manufacturing Catapult is a great privilege.
“This ground-breaking initiative is now poised to play a key role in the drive to re-balance our economy.”