THE chairman of Oxfordshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership has stepped down after a “successful” three-and-a-half years.

Adrian Shooter has decided to move on to other projects, prompting a search for a replacement at the organisation, which works with businesses, academia and the public sector to drive economic development across the county.

Mr Shooter, a former chairman of Chiltern Railways, said: “I’ve been chairman of OxLEP a fair bit of time and don’t think I should stay on for that many years.

“The highlight for me during the past three-and-a-half years has been seeing all the various parties working together; such as Oxfordshire County Council, West Oxfordshire District Council, two fantastic universities and all the further education places we have.

“The key really has been to have shared objectives. It’s very simple. If a whole bunch of people are going in the same direction then you don’t half get jobs done. By and large everyone is enthusiastic about their job, which is what the LEP is all about.”

OxLEP, however, has been criticised by Oxfordshire Green Party treasurer Hazel Dawe, among others, over a perceived lack of transparency by denying councillors access to its agendas and withholding minutes until they have been approved by a subsequent meeting of the organisation.

Mr Shooter, though, said he believed his term in charge was successful. His advice to his successor would be to get to know as many people as possible in the partnership. He added: “I would say engage with all member bodies. Make sure that they all have something to contribute.”

Mr Shooter is currently on a sabbatical with his wife, driving through various countries across the world as part of their shared passion for long-distance car rallying. Since retiring from full-time employment in the rail industry in 2011, Mr Shooter has taken on a number of non-executive and advisory roles. He is a member of the Oxfordshire CBI and chairman of Bicester Vision.

OxLEP chief executive Nigel Tipple said the partnership was now hunting for a replacement.

He said: “Adrian led the development of the strategic economic plan, which sets the long-term direction for the future of Oxfordshire’s economy.

“He successfully led the bid for City Deal, Growing Places Fund, Regional Growth Fund and two rounds of Local Growth Fund.

“The new chairman will support delivery across Oxfordshire and realise the potential of the strategic economic plan for the benefit of the county’s business communities.”

Visit for information on how to apply for the new chairman role.