As chairman of law firm DWF and former global co-chairman of DLA Piper, he’s represented the Sheffield City Region at the highest levels across the world.

And now Sir Nigel Knowles has been thanked for his contributions to the city region as his term as chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is set to come to an end.

He announced at a LEP board meeting today (Monday 17 September) that he does not intend to continue as chair after his term of office ends on 31 December. Instead, he’s set to take on a bespoke role as special advisor to the Mayor, Dan Jarvis, on International Trade and Investment.

This will entail Sir Nigel advising the Mayor on international trade links and investment strategies, as well as personally taking part in trade missions and pitching to potential investors regarding key inward investment opportunities. He will be leading the Sheffield City Region delegation to MIPIM, the world’s biggest property event, in March next year.

Sir Nigel said: “I would like to wish my successor all the best in the role of Chair, and I look forward to working with them over the coming years to drive Sheffield City Region forwards.

“Our new Mayor, Dan Jarvis, already has and will continue to have my full support in his hugely important role of driving economic growth and prosperity across the whole of our City Region.”

Dan Jarvis, mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: “I’d like to thank Sir Nigel for the tremendous contribution he has made over the last three years.

“He has personally brought investment into our region, represented us on a national and international scale, and lead the LEP during a period of successful growth.

“I look forward to working with Sir Nigel in his crucial new role as my advisor on International Trade and Investment, as well as welcoming a new LEP chair who can build upon these successes, at a time of great change and opportunity.”

Born and raised in Sheffield, Sir Nigel studied law at the University of Sheffield and then joined Broomhead & Neals as a clerk in 1978. He later joined what was then the Dibb Lupton Broomhead law firm, and is credited with DLA Piper’s remarkable growth, leading the firm through a series of merges and taking it from its regional origins to the global firm it is today.

Sir Nigel received a knighthood in 2009 in recognition of his services to the legal industry and in 2016 was picked to serve as High Sheriff of Greater London for a year.

Throughout this three-year term, Sir Nigel has been an ambassador for the Sheffield City Region nationally and internationally, championing the region at international events, securing investment and being key in building a stronger, more diverse and more representative membership of the LEP board.

Sir Nigel added: “I have enjoyed my time as chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, representing our region at home and abroad, and am looking forward to taking on this new role as special advisor to the Mayor. I am also proud to be leaving knowing the economy and the LEP are stronger than when I arrived three years ago.

“In my new role, I will be focusing my energies on bringing trade and investment into the Sheffield City Region, as well as leading the trade and investment input into the LEP Annual Business Plan. We as a LEP board have achieved a great deal for this region – a region which I am passionate about, and which is experiencing a successful period of inward investment, economic growth and job creation.”

A full and extensive recruitment process for a new LEP chair will begin imminently, led by the Mayor, Dan Jarvis.