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Lord Shipley OBE (Chair)

A former Newcastle City Council Leader, Lord Shipley has lived and worked in Newcastle upon Tyne for more than four decades.


Brought up and educated in North Yorkshire, Shipley graduated with a BA in History from UCL, where he was also President of the Union, in 1969. He went on to work in brand management at Procter and Gamble before moving to the Open University, where he remained for more than thirty years before retiring in 2005 as Regional Director for the North of England and the European Union.


Elected to Newcastle City Council in 1975, he became leader of the Liberal group three years later and Leader of the Opposition ten years after that. He remained as Leader until 1998 when he became a Regional Director at the Open University. Having retired from the OU in 2005, he became Council Leader in 2006 until 2010, finally standing down as a councillor in 2012.  


Shipley has a strong political interest in regional growth in the UK, particularly regarding the North East. He recognises the important role transport infrastructure, including air connectivity, plays in driving regional growth.


He sits on the Economic Affairs Lords Select Committee and was a member of the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authority. Interestingly, he also previously sat on the board of Newcastle International Airport Local Authority Holding Company (the grouping of the seven local authorities who between them hold a 51% share in the airport) between 2004 and 2006.


His other roles have included being a board member of the regional development agency, One North East (2005-2012). Lord Shipley has also acted as an advisor to the Government on cities policy and in January 2014 was appointed by the Government to support negotiations for Local Growth Deals with Local Enterprise Partnerships. Shipley is also the current Secretary to the Local Growth, Local Enterprise Partnerships and Enterprise Zones APPG. 



Academics and Industry Experts


Professor Ben Derudder

Ben Derudder is Professor of Human Geography in the Department of Geography at Ghent University (Belgium). He has (co-)edited 4 books on world city network-formation, and published several scientific papers on this topic in key academic journals. During the period 2011-2014, he is a Marie Curie Research Fellow, associated with Monash University in Australia.


Ben joined GaWC in 2002. In his GaWC-related research, he has broadly focused on (1) the role of transport and information technology infrastructures in world city network-formation, and (2) the potential of quantitative techniques derived from (social) network analysis to examine GaWC's inter-city datasets. This research is recorded in a number of papers in major journals, including Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Urban Studies, Regional Studies, Journal of Transport Geography, and Environment and Planning A/B. He has also co-edited a number of volumes on globalized urbanization, including Cities in Globalization (Routledge, 2005), Global Urban Analysis: A Study of Cities in Globalization (Earthscan, 2010), and the International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities (Edward Elgar, 2012). His most recent research focuses on (1) the potential of alternative network specifications of the world city network, and (2) modelling change and co-evolution in the world city network.


Ben has worked with the World Bank and economic development agencies in Abu Dhabi, Chengdu, Dublin, Milan and Sydney. Most of this work focuses on how transport and infrastructure networks facilitate, and are facilitated by, transnational economic interactions between cities. In addition, he has been involved in benchmarking a city within the world city network so as to ensure urban policy incorporates understanding global trends.



Paul Hildreth

Paul is an independent advisor on cities, regions and local economies, working in the UK and internationally, across the private and public sectors. He has a record of achievement in national policy making and in local economic development.


He is a Visiting Policy Fellow at SURF at Salford University, Associate for the Centre for London, Board Member of the Regional Studies Association and non-executive Director of Cambridge Econometrics. He is also a member of the Architecture, Planning and Built Environment Panel for the 2014 Research Evaluation Framework (REF) of UK universities and is currently researching the role of institutions in geography from a national and local perspective at University College London.


He has worked with a range of international (e.g. OECD, UNHABITAT, council of Europe and UNDP) and UK organisations (e.g. Centre for Cities, Work Foundation, Department of Communities and Local Government). He has published research and journal papers on regional policy, place shaping, governance and localism, city-regions, medium-sized cities and sub-national economic policy.



Neil Pakey

With over 30 years experience in the transport and tourism industry , Neil is currently the CEO of Shannon Group, a new independent company in Ireland incorporating the subsidiaries of Shannon Airport, Shannon Heritage and Shannon Commercial Properties Ltd.


From 2002 to 2010, Neil was Managing Director of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, one of Europe’s fastest growing airports, where he led the growth in passenger numbers from 867,000 passengers per year to 5.5 million passengers per year. Neil also held senior management positions at Manchester Airport plc, where he helped grow passenger numbers from less than 6 million passengers per year to more than 16 million passengers per year, and at the Vantage Airports Group which included airports in Canada, Cyprus, the Caribbean and the UK.


In addition, Neil was CEO of Peel Airports Ltd, which owned Doncaster Sheffield and Durham Tees Valley Airports, as well as Liverpool John Lennon. He has also held senior positions at two international airlines, Air Seychelles and British Caledonian Airways.


He was seconded as the UK National Expert in the aviation division of the European Commission from 1991 to 1994, specifically supporting the development of the EU Air Liberalisation Programme. Neil also chaired the UK Airport Operators Association for three successive terms; chaired the board of Mersey tourism; and was a board member of “Welcome to Yorkshire”, the Yorkshire Tourism Board for 5 years. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship for services to Tourism in the North-west by the University of Central Lancashire in 2008.



Sandie Dawe

Sandie Dawe spent nearly 30 years working in the tourism industry, most recently as chief executive of VisitBritain, the national tourism agency. She established the Tourism Industry Emergency Response (TIER) group in 2001 and chaired it through crises such as the terrorist attacks in London in July 2005. Most recently she led VisitBritain’s strategy to maximize the tourism benefits of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Before joining VisitBritain, she worked in media, book publishing and tourism, including the BBC World Service, Book Marketing Council, the English Tourist Board and VisitLondon.
Sandie grew up in Sri Lanka and was educated in Scotland, she graduated MA (Hons) Edinburgh University, has a business diploma from Napier University and AMP from INSEAD.
Sandie is a trustee of the Heritage Lottery Fund/National Heritage Memorial Fund and a member of the Board of London & Partners.


An active spokesman, she regularly appears on conference platforms and in the media, championing the interests of the tourism sector.


In 2008 Sandie was awarded an MBE for services to the tourist industry in the Queen's Birthday Honours and in 2014 was awarded the 'Shine' Lifetime Achievement Award by Women1st.



Sir Rod Eddington


Sir Rod Eddington is one of Australia’s most experienced and accomplished business leaders. Educated as an engineer at the University of Western Australia and then Oxford University as Western Australia’s 1974 Rhodes Scholar, he has demonstrated his acumen and expertise on the national, regional, and international stages.


Sir Rod’s career began in transport and aviation in 1979 when he joined the Swire Group. He worked with Cathay Pacific Airways in Hong Kong, Korea and Japan in a variety of roles, before being appointed MD and CEO in 1992. In 1997, he was appointed executive chairman of Ansett Airlines, a position he held until 2000, when News Corporation sold its 50 per cent interest in Ansett. Most recently, he returned to Australia after serving for five years as CEO of British Airways, where he successfully led the airline’s turnaround during one of the industry’s most turbulent periods. In 2005, Sir Rod was awarded a Knighthood by the British Government for services to civil aviation. In December 2006, he completed a study for the British Government on the links between transport and the economy.


Today, numerous companies benefit from his time and talents. He is non-executive chairman (Australia & New Zealand) of JPMorgan and Lion, in addition to maintaining non-executive roles with 21st Century Fox, CLP (China Light & Power) Holdings and John Swire & Sons Pty Ltd. Sir Rod also serves as Chairman of Victorian Major Events Company and was the Inaugural Chairman of Infrastructure Australia from 2008-2014. 


Sir Rod is also a President of the Australia Japan Business Cooperation Committee.



Professor Peter Tyler

Peter Tyler is a Professor in urban and regional economics in the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge and Fellow at St. Catharine's College. He has an extensive track record in undertaking research in urban and regional economics with a particular emphasis on the evaluation of policy. He has been a Project Director for over seventy major research projects for Government, resulting in the publication of forty research monographs of which twenty-four have been of book length.  Besides his work in the United Kingdom for HM Government he has also undertaken research for the European Commission, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and a number of countries on urban, regional, industrial and evaluation policy.  Peter is a Master of the Royal Town Planning Institute, a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and an Academician of the Learned Society for Social Sciences.


In recent years he has been involved in research to value the benefits of urban regeneration and economic development (DCLG), expert evaluation network delivering policy analysis on the performance of EU Cohesion Policy 2007-2013 (DG Regio) and Resilient Regions and Cities (ESRC). He is currently investigating the long term dynamics of interdependent infrastructure systems (EPSRC), the evolving economic performance of UK cities (UK Department of Foresight) and an ex-post evaluation of Cohesion Policy (DG Regio).



Lord Haskins of Skidby

Lord Haskins is a British/Irish businessman, and cross-bencher. After working on a dairy farm in Ireland, Haskins joined the Yorkshire-based Northern Dairies in 1962. After Haskins foresaw the huge demand for good-quality prepared meals, he turned the company into Northern Foods and became a director in 1967, Deputy Chairman in 1974 and Chairman from 1980 to 2002. He was ennobled as a life peer with the title Baron Haskins of Skidby in 1998. He has also been Chairman of the Better Regulation Task Force and a member of the New Deal Task Force. A pro-European, he was a leading member of the Britain in Europe campaign, the House of Lords European Sub-Committee, and is a former Chairman of the European Movement. He is a fellow board member of Yorkshire Forward and also Chairman of the Council of the Open University.





Area Representatives


Derick Murray - Scotland

Derick is a chartered civil engineer with a 32 year history in transport. He is the Director of the statutory Regional Transport Partnership for the north east of Scotland, Nestrans, covering Aberdeen City and Shire, roughly 10% of Scotland's land mass and population. Their main role is to develop and deliver, with their partners, a Regional Transport Strategy. The strategy covers road, rail, air, ports, freight, bus, walking, cycling, active travel and Health & Transport covering external links, internal movements and policy.


Previously, Derick was the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route Managing Agent, where he worked with consultants to develop the route and assessments required to prepare trunk road orders. He was also the Principal Engineer for Aberdeen City Council where he developed the first Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) assessed strategy for the north east of Scotland, the Modern Transport System which later became the Regional Transport Strategy and which made the case for the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route. In addition, he has worked on numerous road improvement schemes in Aberdeen. Derick is also a member of the ACSEF Management Team and of the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland Executive Committee.



Dan Fell – North East and Yorkshire

Dan Fell is Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Doncaster Chamber of Commerce with specific responsibility for leading the Chamber’s Membership Services, Events, International Trade, Policy and Lobbying, Public Affairs and Communications activities.


He has ten years experience in economic development, working closely with neighbouring Chambers, Local Authorities, LEPs and other stakeholders to support and grow local and regional economies.  This includes significant knowledge of the challenges and issues facing SMEs in relation to issues such as: infrastructure, connectivity, planning, red tape and regulation, skills, access to finance and internationalisation.

Additionally, he has worked very closely with Doncaster Sheffield Airport for the last decade and, therefore, is well versed in the challenges and opportunities facing regional airports together with having a deep understanding of the needs local business when it comes to aviation and connectivity.



Jenny Stewart – North West and Cumbria

Jenny joined the Chamber in 2006 as Head of Membership, and was promoted to the Chamber’s senior management team in 2008. She was promoted to the new post of Chief Operating Officer at Liverpool Chamber of Commerce in November 2012, and was named Chief Executive Officer at Liverpool Chamber in November 2013. Jenny joined HM Diplomatic service at just 17, and worked in the North America Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She also worked in the FCO emergency unit during the Falklands Island conflict. Later, she joined the private sector with BT and since then has held senior level commercial posts. Jenny owned her own business in Sutton in Ashfield, and another on the Wirral, after which she became Membership Director at The Forum of Private Business, a business lobbying organisation with 25,000 members nationally.


Jenny is now delighted to be working in the heart of the city and has what she describes as “the best job in the world”. It’s her pleasure to talk to local, national and international business community on a daily basis and promote business in the city in which she grew up.


Outside of work, Jenny is a trustee of St Joseph’s Hospice Association which looks after the terminally ill. Jospice also works overseas to supports the work of hospices in Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador and Peru.

Jenny is also Chair of Health @ Work which is a health and safety, wellbeing and HR consultancy which works with small, medium and large companies to increase employee wellbeing and improve productivity and profitability.



Suzanne Bond – South West

Suzanne Bond has a 25 year track record in economic development, leading in both economic policy and strategy development and its delivery on the ground. A political-economist and strategist by background, she has held senior executive positions with and within European, national, regional and sub regional organisations. Her career is characterised by driving economic growth, with private, public and third sector organisations, mainly at the forefront of new, changing or challenging organisations.


She has led on many aspects of regional economic development with organisations as diverse as the European Commission in Brussels, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in Whitehall, regional development agencies in France, Spain, Portugal and Scotland, the Government Office for South West in Bristol and the South West Regional Development Agency. The common theme/denominator of her working life is Cornwall and its economic prosperity; she has been an advocate and negotiator for Cornwall at EU, national and regional level for over 20 years.


Suzanne joined Cornwall Development Company (CDC) as Chief Executive in November 2010 and she and her team are responsible for the delivery of a c. £295m gross programme of economic development in Cornwall, on behalf of Cornwall Council and the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). CDC’s delivery programmes include Aerohub @ Newquay Cornwall Airport (Enterprise Zone), Hayle Infrastructure & Marine Renewables Business Park, Port of Falmouth, Superfast Cornwall,  ERDF Priority 4 Strategic Investment Framework, Business Boost investment programme,  Invest in Cornwall (inward investment) and Visit Cornwall (Cornwall Tourist Board). She has also been a non Executive Director/Board Member of Visit Britain’s England Marketing Board and of Visit England itself for over 10 years and currently loves in Falmouth.



Iestyn Davies – Wales

Iestyn Davies is an experienced senior manager working in the fields of External Affairs, Public Relations, public policy and external communications. At present, Iestyn is the Senior Head of External Affairs Devolved at the Federation of Small Businesses. The FSB is the UK's leading and genuine business voice representing around 200,000 members and the interests of many more SMEs. It provides practical support and services and the unique service of lobbying and campaigning cross the whole of the UK.


Iestyn is an SMT member with responsibility for the work carried out by the FSB's team across the three devolved countries of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. He also has responsibility for the day to day management of the FSB office supporting its members across Wales. Previously, Iestyn was Head of External Affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses where he was a local manager leading a team of multidisciplinary professionals in PR, Media, Public Affairs and Policy.


A frequent contributor to news, current affairs and political programmes and public speaker, he is also a member of the Welsh Government's Council for Economic Renewal, the Wales Employer and Skills Board, the Qualifications Wales Advisory Board, the EU Funds Programme Monitoring Committee and the Ministerial Tackling Poverty Advisory Group. Iestyn is also a member of the Governing Body of Cardiff Metropolitan University and Ysgol Gymraeg Cwm Gwyddon in Caerphilly.



Doreen Mckenzie – Northern Ireland

Proprietor of Knock Travel, Doreen McKenzie had a background of travel and tourism and considerable overseas experience when she created Knock Travel on 1st April 1990. During this time Knock Travel has grown considerably and there are now two retail agencies and twenty professional staff members. They have the latest technology in the travel industry in the UK and rank in the top six corporate companies. They have received numerous awards as recognition of their attempts to deliver the most professional and best value for money and service and are investors in people.


Knock Travel is the only company in Ireland to be accredited with ISO 9001 since 1994. This provides them with an internal audit trail and indicates to the public an example of their professional standard of delivery, from administration, to handling complaints. They used the basic Government business format to design their own criteria, to measure and monitor business management and complaints, which is so important in the industry today.


Doreen McKenzie was privileged and delighted to be awarded with the N.I Travel and Tourism Personality 1998 in recognition of her work and achievements, in her many roles within ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents), providing benefits to the trade within the province. Other Awards include BT - Business Woman of the Year 2008 and TTG - Company Award for Excellence 2007.



Sir Peter Rigby - Midlands


Sir Peter Rigby is a serial entrepreneur and seasoned businessman with a life-long fascination with aviation and has major commercial interests in the sector. He is currently the Founder/Chairman/Chief Executive of Rigby Group (RG) Plc, one of the UK’s largest privately owned companies which includes an aviation division.


Under the management of Regional & City Airport Management (RCA). Rigby Group’s airports' arm caters for thousands of commercial flights every year through Norwich International, Coventry and Exeter Airports. The division is also responsible for the running of the regional airports at Blackpool and Derry.


British International Helicopter Services (BIH) is the largest British privately owned helicopter operator and the only domestically owned company in the offshore helicopter / EMS sector operating in the United Kingdom. The group also owns Patriot Aviation, a market leader in fixed wing and helicopter sales and servicing.


Sir Peter started his entrepreneurial career by building from scratch Europe’s largest privately owned Information Technology Group, SCC. He is also a trustee of several key charities and of The Rigby Foundation, his family charitable trust.


Additionally, Sir Peter holds a current helicopter and fixed wing pilot’s licence and was knighted in 2002 for services to Information Technology and Business.