Just over four years ago I gave up my business career as the boss of John Lewis to start the job of working for our region as your West Midlands Mayor.
Growing up in Northfield and Solihull in the 70s and early 80s, I saw a region that was in a state of despair. From factories closing to urban decay, all I heard from friends was how they couldn’t wait to leave the West Midlands and never come back. None of it sat right with me, and I knew if I ever had the chance to help my home region prosper again then I had to take it. So when the choice came of giving up my career and the job of my dreams at John Lewis after 30 years to run for Mayor, it took me seconds to decide.
At the heart of my plan for the region was one overriding objective – securing more high- quality long-term jobs and opportunities for people living in the West Midlands. Seeing the pain that came from years of underachievement is what drove me then. Stopping the pandemic from pushing us off course and causing lasting underachievement is what drives me today. Everyone should have access to high-quality long-term employment opportunities, and it is my job as Mayor to make that happen.
In the face of what could be the UK’s worst recession since the Second World War, this plan sets out the path forward.