Liam Booth-Smith leaves Localis to join Policy Exchange

Liam Booth-Smith, who has been chief executive at think tank Localis for the past two years, will join Policy Exchange as their director of policy and development.

Some of his key achievements have been influencing the government’s Modern Industrial Strategy, providing ideas on how to make the housing market work better for consumers and opening a new debate on the future of the public service market.  During his time at Localis, they have also published influential reports on Brexit, the housing crisis and the North/South divide.

Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the Board of Localis, said: ‘After the two of the most successful years in Localis history we’re sad to announce Liam Booth-Smith is leaving his position as Chief Executive.

‘The organisation has grown rapidly in terms of size, influence and intellectual output during Liam’s time in charge and Localis has become a unique and thoughtful voice amongst the UK’s think tanks.

‘This work will continue under new leadership and the organisation has an excellent basis for a new phase of growth. We would like to thank Liam for his work and energy as he takes up the position of Director of Policy and Development at the think tank Policy Exchange. Localis and Policy Exchange have a long history of collaboration and we look forward to this continuing in the future.

Liam Booth-Smith, said: ‘I am moving to become the new director of policy and development at the think-tank Policy Exchange. It’s been an honour to lead Localis and a privilege to work with a board so supportive and well led by Sir Merrick Cockell.

‘When I set out two years ago I had a five-year plan. Unlike most five year plans however, this one worked, perhaps too well. Only two years in and Localis has surpassed all expectations.

‘We’re twice the size, putting out three times the amount of research and taking the idea of ‘place’ into new policy areas. As someone put it to an audience at an event I was speaking at earlier this week, “if you had to buy think tank shares, you’d buy Localis.”

‘So whilst there is never a perfect time to make a change like this, now is better than most. Localis is on the up, its standard of research and boldness of editorial is desperately needed, particularly by a local government sector short of critical thinking capacity.

‘Localis isn’t just an inheritance worth preserving, its an institution primed for another phase of dramatic growth. So whilst I’m leaving the party a bit earlier than expected, it remains very much in full swing.

‘I will still be overseeing our current projects and reaching out to our friends and supporters in the coming weeks before my formal arrival at Policy Exchange. Localis has an excellent team and there will be no let up in its output. All that’s left is to thank people. There are too many to name.

‘A multitude of small kindnesses have helped to create the success of the last two years and I am immensely grateful for them.’

His successor at Localis is set to be announced shortly.


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