THE hunt is on for a new chief executive to drive economic growth and create thousands of jobs across Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.

The main responsibility of the new North East Local Enterprise Partnership chief will be to lead the LEP's economic plan, the keystone in a vision to create more and better jobs.

At the heart of the plan are a range of projects to boost innovation, skills, business support, transport, develop the region’s economic assets and support inclusive growth.

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Former chief executive Ed Twiddy stepped down as chief executive in April to join new Durham City-based digital bank Atom.

Rockpools recruitment agency has been appointed to lead the search on behalf of the North East LEP’s board and the North East Combined Authority.

There has already been strong interest in the role.

LEP chairman, Paul Woolston, said the board was looking for a talented individual to take charge of the LEP's strategic plan and build on its achievements.

This includes the recent award of £290m from the Government’s Growth Deal which will help create more than 4,000 jobs and attract an additional £90m in public and private sector investment .

Councillor Simon Henig, chair of the North East Combined Authority, said: “We are working in partnership to find the right person to take on this challenge and help us to move forward our plans for the region’s economic development.

“And this will be a very challenging, but ultimately highly-rewarding role. The successful candidate will be someone able to understand the bigger vision and manage the teams working to achieve our aims. I am looking forward to the appointment as the next stage in the North-East’s continued journey towards a strong and sustainable economy for everyone in the region.”