Following a 12-month stint as interim Chief Executive and an extensive national recruitment process, Nigel Lambe has been confirmed as the second-ever permanent CEO of Sussex Innovation.

Prior to taking up the mantle at Sussex Innovation, Nigel was involved in some of the region’s best-known food and drink brands – as chairman, and later CEO, of Hove-based Small Batch Coffee Roasters and also as a co-founder of Brighton Gin producers the Brighton Spirit Company.

He follows in the footsteps of Mike Herd who left Sussex Innovation last year after 22 years as the organisation’s founding Executive Director.

“I’m tremendously proud and delighted to accept the permanent position as Chief Executive,” said Nigel. “Over the past year as interim CEO I have been excited to work with so many groundbreaking businesses, get to know the awesome team of 34 who support our entrepreneurs, and collaborate with the University of Sussex on our shared vision for the future. With the business environment facing so many tough challenges at the moment, I’m looking forward to the challenge of leading Sussex Innovation and its members through the crisis, and expanding on our role at the heart of the regional innovation ecosystem.”

“Nigel has an incredible background in entrepreneurship and advising businesses on their ambitious growth plans,” said Professor Stephen Shute, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Resources at the University of Sussex. “His business experience will be invaluable to the start-ups and scale-ups that Sussex Innovation is working with now and in the future. Filling Mike Herd’s shoes was always going to be a very difficult task but Nigel has shown in his year as interim CEO that he has the skills and drive needed to take Sussex Innovation forward.”

The 50-year-old, who is a graduate of University College Dublin and the UCD Smurfit Graduate Business School, joined Sussex Innovation as a Non-Executive Director in May 2015.

As well as Brighton Gin and Small Batch, he co-founded, launched and then sold The Urchin Shellfish & Craft Beer Bar in Hove and developed the N+1 cycle hub by Brighton Railway Station. Prior to his time as a company founder and entrepreneur, Nigel enjoyed a 20-year corporate career running large divisions of blue chip multi-national enterprises such as PepsiCo, Capita, Smurfit Packaging and Grampian Foods. A native of Dublin, he has lived in Hove for almost 20 years and has three teenage children.