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New SWRDA Area Director

Theo Leijser has been appointed South West Regional Development Agency Area Director for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Mr Leijser, currently Chief Executive of Forward Scotland, will take up his new post in November.

A SWRDA spokesperson explained: "Our new approach sees us shifting from seven area teams headed up by Heads of Operations to four area teams headed up by more senior Area Directors, who will be supported by a Head of Sustainable Communities and a Head of Business Development.

"This change is designed to strengthen our capacity at senior level to engage with our sub-regional and local stakeholders, having regard to the need to see much of our future work in the context of the development of local area and multi-area agreements (LAAs/MAAs).

"The environment in which our Agency operates has changed significantly since we were set up, and the recent Review of Sub-National Economic Development and Regeneration has confirmed our greater focus on business potential and the drivers of business productivity – innovation, enterprise, skills, investment and trade.

"The new area territories will give the Agency the breadth of capacity required to deal with the full range of our business, bolster our leadership capacity and give new and lasting impetus to our role in the South West region. We believe our new structure will give us the expertise and flexibility to enable us to the lead the development of a sustainable economy and enable us to deploy our resources more flexibly in a way that matches our priorities."

Biography - Theo Leijser

After completing his MBA, Theo spent five and a half years working for the Strathclyde European Partnership, a regional partnership comprising local authorities, development agencies and higher/further education institutions. The company delivers socio-economic regeneration through the effective investment of European Structural Funds. Theo delivered the Regional Innovation Strategy for Western Scotland, a partnership programme to support business innovation, inter-regional cooperation and skills development.

In the late 1980s Theo spent a year with Médicins Sans Frontieres as a project director in Sudan, and then nine years as programme director for the Save the Children Fund, responsible for four African countries and relief co-ordinator for Ethiopia.

While Chief Executive of Forward Scotland (the leading independent sustainable development organisation in Scotland), Theo's work has focused on supporting action for sustainable development through practical projects, research and the distribution of grant funding.

Commenting on his appointment, Theo said: "Throughout my career I have worked towards creating successful regions and communities by enabling people to develop skills and assets - initially in Africa and latterly in Scotland. I see my experience of developing sustainable regions as a driver for competitiveness and economic development as particularly relevant for my new role in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly."

For further information please contact Clare Morgan, Media Relations Manager for the Partnership Office. Tel: 01872 223439 / 07973 813647. Email:


Editor's notes:



Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

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