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Solent Freeport announces first Chief Executive

James Hassett will be joining the Solent Freeport as its first Chief Executive in June this year.

Mr Hassett aims to drive forward the Freeport to become an established hotbed for innovation, a national hub for global trade and investment, and a catalyst for regeneration through the creation of high-skilled jobs.

Brian Johnson, Chairman of Solent Freeport, said: “I’m delighted to welcome James to the Solent Freeport at this exciting time. James has extensive experience and a proven track record in delivering a strategic vision with highly successful results.

“He is the ideal person to lead the Solent Freeport as Chief Executive, with the vision, direction and ambition which will ensure the benefits of the Freeport are fully realised for our communities, businesses and the wider UK economy.”

Mr Hassett has over 25 years’ experience leading organisations across a range of industries include in the Engineering Sector, Environmental Sector and Public Sector. His background and skills are in sustainable development, regeneration and economic development.

Speaking about his appointment, Mr Hassett said: “I know the Solent well, its unique character, potential and challenges. Taking on this role at this critical time is a unique opportunity to build on the early achievements of the Solent Freeport.

Freeports are areas designated by the government where normal tax and customs rules are relaxed or do not apply.

Within the Freeport zone, businesses have to pay little or no tax on imported and exported goods – and there are often additional incentives to encourage economic activity. While located geographically within a country, they essentially exist outside its borders for tax and customs purposes.

The Solent Freeport was one of the first UK freeports designated by Government, in December 2022.


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