Sir Peter Rigby, who owns Coventry Airport, received unanimous support from the board of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership this month, but would not accept the position until he was sure businesses supported it.
Politicians including Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright and Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White warned of a possible conflict of interest, with the partnership judging merits of Sir Peter’s Gateway scheme to redevelop land around the airport.
Cllr Alan Cockburn (Con, Kenilworth St John’s) is responsible for economic development at Warwickshire County Council and an LEP board member. He said: “Sir Peter is a very successful businessman and as such is eminently qualified to lead our Local Enterprise Partnership. Yes, his obvious conflicts of interests regarding the Coventry Gateway scheme are well documented, but as long as all his interests are declared and he is not personally involved in decisions regarding the site, his election is a positive move for the local economy.”