Rod Holmes, the highly regarded project director of Liverpool One, is to become the next chairman of inward investment agency The Mersey Partnership.
Holmes, who will be 65 in the summer, is set to retire from Grosvenor after Liverpool One's grand opening at the end of September. He will take up his new role on 1 October.
Holmes has led Grosvenor's complex, £1bn re-development of 42 acres of the city centre since the developer was appointed eight years ago by Liverpool City Council. The first phase of the massive scheme, with 1.6m sq ft of retail, is due to open on 29 May, when shops in Paradise Street and South John Street start trading.
TMP is responsible for inward investment, economic development and tourism. It is also the sub-regional delivery partner of the powerful North West Development Agency. Through Grosvenor, Holmes has been a 'corporate member' of TMP since 2005 and has regularly used TMP's research and analysis resources.
Holmes' appointment as chairman will tee up an intriguing personality match with Lorraine Rogers, TMP's new firebrand chief executive installed last autumn.
Rogers has already instigated sweeping changes on the board with the departure of three directors including chairman Roy Morris last year. The departures occurred after it emerged the NWDA had offered TMP a six-figure credit line to help it cope with a funding backlog caused by the slow processing of European grants from the Objective One programme. Morris' tenure as chairman was already due to end under TMP's constitution.
Neither Holmes nor Rogers suffers fools gladly and both are dominant personalities, with Holmes a quick-witted charmer to Rogers' more aggressive and tub-thumping management style.
Many business leaders in Liverpool will be hoping Holmes takes TMP to previously unconquered territory, securing greater results in the competitive arena of inward investment, and helping to erase the quango's reputation for lacking dynamism and vision.
TMP Deputy Chair, Cllr Ronnie Round, commented: "We are delighted to have secured the services of someone so highly regarded in the public and private sectors. Rod has a detailed knowledge of the construction and development industries as well as the tourism and retail sectors and has strong links to the cultural sector. He is outspoken when it matters and has a reputation for getting things done.
He added: "In addition to Rod's experience with Grosvenor he brings a global perspective having worked in senior roles in various European countries, North America, Africa and the Middle and Far East. Liverpool city region's six local authorities have recently stepped up their support for TMP's inward investment activities with a groundbreaking three year funding commitment and I am looking forwards to working with Rod in driving our economy forward."
Holmes was not immediately available for comment.