In June 2023, James Hassett is set to become the inaugural Chief Executive of the Solent Freeport. He will lead the efforts to establish the Freeport as a thriving center for innovation, a hub for international trade and investment at the national level, and a driving force for revitalization by generating highly skilled job opportunities.

Brian Johnson, Chair 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.

“We’ve built some incredibly effective collaborations and made a great deal of progress in establishing the Solent Freeport. I am very much looking forward to working with James to fully realise the benefits Freeport status will bring to both our regional and national prosperity.”

With over 25 years of experience in leadership roles across a variety of industries, including the Engineering, Environmental, and Public sectors, James brings a wealth of expertise in sustainable development, economic development, and regeneration.

Expressing his thoughts on his appointment, James commented that he is familiar with the distinctive attributes, potential, and obstacles of the Solent region. He considers his appointment at this crucial juncture to be a remarkable chance to advance the early accomplishments of the Solent Freeport.

“As the UK’s most important gateway to European and global markets, the Solent Freeport is an important investment in the region’s future with enormous potential to level up our coastal communities. I am committed to working with partners, businesses and communities to ensure local people benefit from job creation and increased prosperity at the same time as delivering an internationally important Freeport.”

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