New One North East Chairman Named

Posted on the 3 June 2010

New One North East Chairman Named

Prominent North East businessman Paul Callaghan will become the new chairman of regional development agency One North East, the Government has announced.

The Sunderland-born chairman of the Leighton Group will become ‘chairman designate’ of the regional development agency from June 14th, working closely with current chairman Margaret Fay until formally taking over the role on August 16th.

Vince Cable, the Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills, has appointed Mr Callaghan on a contract to run until December 2012. He said: “Paul’s impressive experience and business acumen will make an important contribution to economic development in the North East. The future of RDAs is currently being reviewed but I believe that the North East of England is one region where business support through a regional agency is both necessary and appreciated.”

Mr Callaghan, 57, is a highly respected businessman who chairs the Leighton Group, the North East-based technology, software, media and communications group.

He said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been asked to be the next chairman of One North East. The coming years are a crucial time for this region and I want to help build on the Agency’s tremendous achievements over the last decade.

“We must capitalise on the opportunities for economic growth that exist in sectors such as new and renewable energy, low carbon vehicles and science and technology.

“Margaret Fay is, of course, a very difficult act to follow. She has been an exemplary chairman and a magnificent ambassador for the North East and I believe that the leadership she has shown has left the Agency and the region in a strong position to meet the challenges ahead.”Mrs Fay warmly welcomed his appointment. “Paul’s appointment is excellent news for One North East and the whole of the region,” she said.

“Paul has built his highly successful career in the North East and has great credibility amongst the business community. His business acumen will be vital as chairman of One North East as we work ever more closely with companies to help them seize the opportunities the economic recovery represents.

“As the current deputy chairman of One North East, Paul is also exceptionally well placed to take over the chairman’s role as he fully understands the board and its remit and the strategic direction of the Agency at a time of political and economic change.”

Mrs Fay will leave One North East in August after six-and-a-half years as chairman, having joined the Agency from Tyne Tees Television in December 2003.

Alan Clarke, One North East Chief Executive, said: “Finding a new chairman to replace Margaret was always going to be a tough task but in Paul we have a worthy successor.

“He is a highly respected businessman and entrepreneur - a passionate advocate for business and e-commerce in the region who has worked closely with Margaret both as a board member and more recently as deputy chairman.

“Paul has the experience and the vision to ensure One North East continues to support businesses out of recession and into better times while making the strategic decisions needed to underpin longer term sustainable regional economic growth.”

Mr Clarke also paid tribute to Mrs Fay. “I would like to thank Margaret for everything she has done for One North East and the region over the past six very busy years,” he said.