MARKETING Leeds, the inward investment agency, has found a new chief executive, eight months after the search began.
Lurene Joseph is joining from the London Development Agency, where she worked alongside London mayors Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson.
Like all regional development agencies, it is being axed next March. Ms Joseph has been its £145,000-a-year chief executive since May.
She said: “I am delighted to be offered the post of chief executive of the new Marketing Leeds.
“The city is moving forward with a great ambition and there is huge potential here for investment and growth.”
Ms Joseph joined the London Development Agency in 2004 after a decade spent in marketing and communications at American electricity company TXU and energy giant Shell.
Her appointment was welcomed by Coun Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, who described it as a “great coup”.
He said: “She is the ideal person to have at the helm of the city’s inward investment strategy as we pursue our aim of being the best city in the UK.”
Andy Clarke, the chairman of Marketing Leeds and chief executive of Asda, said Ms Joseph would be a “fantastic ambassador”.
Jeff Morris, regional managing partner at headhunter Odgers Berndtson, admitted that the recruitment process had “clearly taken a long time and there have been a few wrong turns along the way but ultimately the aim has never changed: to have somebody who is stand-out good, who can help the city raise its ambitions and its profile nationally and internationally”.
Ms Joseph is described as having “a very distinct and positive style who is very well networked across the country, particularly at senior Government level” with lots of experience in marketing and attracting foreign investment.
Marketing Leeds, which receives most of its £1.16 million funding from the taxpayer, declined to discuss her salary.