HAMPSHIRE and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance has announced its new chairman.

Marcus de Ferranti has been appointed to the role with immediate effect following the departure of interim chairman Tony Nicholson.

Mr de Ferranti started his career as a Harrier pilot in the RAF before serving in the Cabinet office as head of unit policy communication in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Deregulation Unit between 1995 and 1997.

He founded and operated Band-X, the world’s first broadband capacity trading exchange and was named Ernst & Young’s entrepreneur of the year in 2000.

He said: “I feel privileged to be able to play my part in the future of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.

“Having lived in Hampshire for many years, I have always been in awe of the life-saving service that the charity provides and of the dedication of the aircrews, staff and volunteers. “I look forward to the many new and exciting opportunities that lie ahead for this much-loved and respected charity.”

Mr Nicholson said: “It’s been a key responsibility for me, as the continuity link over these last few months, to oversee the search for the right person to fill the role for the longer term – and we are delighted that, in Marcus, we have the perfect candidate to take over as chairman of trustees. “His wealth of business experience and his time spent in the Royal Air Force will be invaluable to us as we continue to improve the life-saving service that we provide in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.”