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Business & Economy

Gillian Hall appointed to lead North East Innovation Board

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has appointed a new chair to its Innovation Board.

Gillian Hall, who has more than 25 years’ experience as a business owner, non-executive director, and corporate lawyer, will lead the Innovation Board as it supports the drive to create more and better jobs in the North East.

Gillian Hall said: “By encouraging innovation – whether that’s within small businesses or in large corporations – we can boost the region’s productivity, create more jobs, and make a positive difference to the lives of people in the North East.

“In the wake of COVID-19, we will also be playing a role in the North East COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan. As the Chair of the Innovation Board, my priority is to turn plans into action and, along with the rest of the board members, I will be working with the team at the North East LEP and our partners across the region to support businesses and communities as they recover.”

Alan Welby, innovation director at the North East LEP, added: “Increasing innovation is vitally important to the growth of our economy, especially now, as businesses and communities are recovering from the impact of COVID-19 and finding new ways of working.

“Gillian has a real drive to make sure that the work we do has an impact and that we make a difference for people in the North East. Her hands-on approach will ensure that we work towards increasing innovation in the region with pace and purpose.”

Innovation is one of the areas of focus within the North East Strategic Economic Plan, which lays out the roadmap for creating a more productive economy in the region, and creating 100,000 more and better jobs in the North East by 2024.

The Innovation team at the North East LEP, with the support of the Innovation Board, works with partners to grow the amount of R&D taking place in the North East and to attract investment into the region.

The North East LEP Innovation Board is made up of representatives from the region’s local authorities, academia and industry. The members are Gillian Hall (chair); Tony Appleton; Richard Baker, strategy and policy Director, North East LEP; Estelle Blanks, executive director, Innovation SuperNetwork; Professor Michael Capaldi, dean of innovation and business, Newcastle University; Councillor Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council; Helen Golightly, chief executive, North East LEP; Dr Colin Herron; Patrick Melia, chief executive of SunderlandCity Council; Lee Viney, regional manager, Innovate UK; Alan Welby, innovation director, North East LEP; Dr Nicola Wesley, chief operations officer, AHSN; and Professor Michael Whitaker.