A leading figure from the global energy sector will play a key role in driving forward the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal.

Edward Tomp, Vice President and General Manager of Valero UK in Pembroke, has been chosen as preferred candidate to become chair of the Swansea Bay City Deal’s Economic Strategy Board (ESB).

During an international, private sector career spanning over 30 years, Mr Tomp has also held a number of senior positions in companies based in the USA and Australia.

The ESB will represent the wider community, including the private sector and third sector. It will act as the voice of business, provide strategic direction to the City Deal and oversee the development of business cases for each project. It will also have a role in advising the Joint Committee on opportunities to strengthen the City Deal’s impact.

Subject to the City Deal’s governance being agreed, Mr Tomp will be officially confirmed as ESB chairman.

Mr Tomp, originally from California, said: “Through an innovative public and private sector partnership, the Swansea Bay City Deal will considerably boost growth in sectors including digital enterprise, life sciences and well-being, smart manufacturing and sustainable energy production. This will help build and improve the Swansea Bay City Region for local people and local businesses throughout Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea as a number of major projects unfold across South West Wales. I’m extremely proud that I’ll play a part in delivering this tremendously exciting programme of considerable investment in coming years.

“The City Deal is vitally important because it will create thousands of new, well-paid jobs, while supporting existing businesses and entrepreneurs through more supply chain opportunities and the construction of state-of-the-art spaces for offices, clustering, research and development.

“Also potentially leading to new global export markets in the City Region, the City Deal will improve our economic well-being and raise aspirations, which is why I’m wholeheartedly committed to doing all I can to help ensure it realises its enormous potential.”

As well as his position at Valero UK, Mr Tomp has experience as a chairperson and member of Pembrokeshire College’s Corporation Board. He’s also been a member of Pembrokeshire Council’s A-Level Steering Group, the Milford Haven Enterprise Zone Advisory Board, and the Welsh Government’s Energy Wales Strategic Delivery Group.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Lead Leader for the Swansea Bay City Region, said: “There are five key areas of the City Deal, with Mr Tomp showing considerable experience in three of them – energy, manufacturing and skills.

“This, coupled with his hugely impressive international private sector and industrial experience, means he’s the perfect person to chair the Economic Strategy Board.

“The ESB will play a vital role in the City Deal’s delivery and impact in coming years, so we’re delighted to have chosen someone of Mr Tomp’s calibre as our preferred candidate.”

Alun Cairns, the UK Government’s Secretary of State for Wales, said:  “The Economic Strategy Board has a critical role to play in how the Deal is developed and implemented.

“It’s essential that private sector expertise is the driving force behind projects within the City Deal. Not only will Mr Tomp be the voice of business in the region, but his international reputation will be an asset in attracting and securing new investment to the region.”

Ken Skates, the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport, said: “I welcome Mr Tomp’s selection as the preferred candidate and the wealth of experience he can bring as Chair. The Economic Strategy Board will play a vital role in the delivery of the Swansea Bay City Region City Deal in representing the voices of the private, public and third sector. The Board will also support the more regional approach which is central to our vision for a more prosperous Wales, and a key component of our Economic Action Plan.”

As well as the chair, the process for selecting a number of other private sector representatives to sit on the ESB is progressing. Areas including life sciences and further education will be among those represented.