• Paul Woolston

    Paul Woolston


    Paul recently retired as the senior partner of the PwC North East practice where he was the PwC UK market sector leader for public services assurance. With extensive experience in the public sector, including health, local government and education, Paul also works closely with the business community in the North East, nationally and internationally.

  • Andrew Hodgson

    Andrew Hodgson

    Vice Chair

    As Chief Executive Officer of Wallsend-based SMD (Soil Machine Dynamics), Andrew is a subsea engineering specialist who was recently awarded the Queen’s Award for Export. He is currently Chair of Subsea North East and Chair of Tyne and Wear City Region Employment and Skills Board.

  • Councillor Simon Henig

    Councillor Simon Henig

    Vice Chair

    Since 2008, Simon has been Leader of Durham County Council, leading the authority into unitary status. He is Chair of the County Durham Partnership and Vice Chair of the Association of North East Councils. At national level he is lead member on the Culture, Tourism and Sport Board of the Local Government Association and a member of Labour’s National Policy Forum. He is a Principal Lecturer in Politics at Sunderland University and has authored several books on the subject.

  • Arnab Basu

    Arnab Basu

    Founding CEO of Kromek, a pioneering spin out company from the University of Durham specialising in digital colour imaging for x-rays and advanced 3D imaging, Arnab has led the business through five rounds of private equity financing. He also led the successful acquisition of California based NOVA Inc in 2010 and is currently the President.

  • Michael Bellamy

    Michael Bellamy

    Michael joined PII Pipeline Solutions, part of the GE group, as General Manager in April 2010 following six years in Florence, Italy, as General Manager of Marketing & Communications for GE’s Oil and Gas business. He began his career in sales and marketing and spent 13 years at ICI, and has held a number of international marketing roles.

  • David Land

    David Land

    Having started as an engineering apprentice, David has worked in the automotive sector since leaving school. He joined Tallent Engineering 23 years ago and has contributed to growing the company from a regional based component supplier to a global design and development facility supporting plants in Asia and Europe. David is currently Operations and Engineering Director of Tallent’s Aycliffe site.

  • Hall, Gillian

    Gillian Hall

    Gillian Hall, senior partner of Watson Burton LLP law firm, was the first female senior partner of a full service law firm in the north of England when she took up her role in 2010. As a corporate partner at Watson Burton, which has offices in Newcastle, Leeds and London, Gillian works with private and public sector organisations across the region and nationally.

  • Jeremy Middleton

    Jeremy Middleton

    Jeremy is a director of Middleton Enterprises LTD, a private investment company focused on property and business angel investments in the North East. Having worked in brand marketing for Proctor & Gamble and a marketing consultant for PwC, he co-founded the home assistance business Homeserve plc and also has interests in a number of different regional companies.

  • Gill Southern

    Gill Southern MBE

    Gill is a Director and co-owner of Wearside-based Wessington Cryogenics, the manufacturer of Cryogenics pressure vessels. She is a board member of NOF Energy and is involved with North East Chamber of Commerce and North East Productivity Alliance. A proactive ambassador for the region, she was awarded an MBE for services to North East Industry in 2011.

  • Paul Varley

    Paul Varley

    Paul has just left his role as Chief Executive of Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club and is now considering which opportunities to pursue next. Prior to joining the Falcons Paul was at Carillion plc where he was the Managing Director of Carillion Energy Services (formerly Eaga plc). Paul is a Non-Executive Director at KNW, the North East’s most established energy efficiency company, and is a business mentor.

  • Mayor Photo

    Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn

    Mrs Norma Redfearn took up her 4 year term of office as Elected Mayor of North Tyneside in May 2013. She has represented the Riverside Ward in North Shields as ward council since 2004. Under previous Elected Mayor, John Harrison (2005-2009) she served as Cabinet member for Children, Young People and Learning. As a member of the NUT she served as a school delegate, executive member and is a past President of Newcastle Association and a National representative for Primary Schools.

  • Councillor Mick Henry CBE

    Councillor Mick Henry CBE

    Leader of Gateshead Council since 2002, having been an elected councillor since 1986, he chairs Gateshead Strategic Partnership and is involved with a number of national bodies, including the Local Government Association’s General Assembly and its Rural and Urban Commissions. He is a Chair of Northumbria Police Authority and a lay member of the Court of Newcastle University. He was awarded a CBE for his services to local government in 2007.

  • Councillor Nick Forbes

    Councillor Nick Forbes

    A councillor since 2000, Nick was elected Leader of Newcastle City Council in 2011. He represents the city on a range of bodies and is Vice Chair of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority. A member of Labour’s National Policy Forum, Nick chairs FRESH, the campaign for a Smoke Free North East. Nick trained in the NHS and is Chief Executive of Community Action on Health, a charity benefiting regional communities.

  • Councillor Iain Malcolm

    Councillor Iain Malcolm

    Leader of South Tyneside Council, Iain has been an elected Member since 1988 and chairs and sits on a number of regional committees. He is also Chairman of the Local Government Association Urban Commission. Previously he was Chief of Staff to the Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party. In 2001, he was appointed Chief Executive of Sovereign Strategy, public affairs consultancy.

  • 177 grant Davey 2013-MEC

    Councillor Grant Davey

    A good deal of Councillor Grant Davey’s working life has been spent in the public sector, retiring from Wansbeck District Council in 2007. Since then he has spent five years managing a community centre. Before the formation of the Unitary County in 2008 he was a Blyth Valley Councillor. On closure of that Council in 2009 he held the position of Housing and Regeneration portfolio lead. Councillor Davey led the Labour Group on Northumberland County UA in opposition from 2008 – 2013 and has now been asked by his group to lead the Council through the challenging period of cuts that are being forced by Government onto Local Government over the foreseeable fiscal years to come.

  • Councillor Paul Watson

    Councillor Paul Watson

    A former apprentice shipwright at Sunderland Shipbuilders, Paul was elected Leader of Sunderland City Council in 2008, having served two years as Deputy Leader. He represents the council on a number of influential political organisations such as the Association of North East Councils and the Local Government Association.

  • Peter Fidler

    Professor Peter Fidler

    Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Sunderland University, Professor Fidler joined the University in April 1999. A town planner by profession, his career has encompassed research and consultancy as well as academic and professional posts. He contributes to regional regeneration as a member of several development bodies in the North East of England.

  • Anne Isherwood

    Anne Isherwood

    With a background in hospitality Anne knows what it takes to deliver outstanding quality to customers, and this is her biggest passion in her new role as Principal at Sunderland College. Anne joined the Board to further strengthen the role that Colleges have to play in economic regeneration in the region through skills development. She is working with Andrew Hodgson on initiatives across the North East. Anne is part of the team working on the skills action plan that was awarded to the North East LEP as part of the Newcastle City Deal.