Jonathon Woodall, Hays Travel.
Jane Imrie

This week's North East appointments

Jonathon Woodall, Hays Travel

Hays Travel has appointed Jonathon Woodall as chief operating officer.

The announcement follows the sudden death of the firm’s founder John Hays on November 13.

Jonathon will work with the board and the senior leadership team to take forward the two-year business plan as John and his wife Irene intended.

Jonathon joined Hays Travel in 2004 and worked closely with John for more than 16 years. He has held various positions across the group, including finance manager, head of independence group and head of commercial.

Irene Hays, the company’s chair, commented: “John was proud of the career success of our loyal, committed and talented people.

“Jonathon has excelled since he started, and while the circumstances of his promotion are not what anyone would have ever wanted, he has the confidence and support of everyone in the business.”

Jonathon added: “I am privileged to take John’s legacy forward alongside all of the people in Hays Travel who want to do the same.

“Although these are challenging times for the travel industry, we have strong plans in place.

“Irene and I will continue to reach for excellence in the way we look after our people, our customers and our suppliers.”

Carol Bell, Mercedes Broadbent, Nancy Doyle-Hall, Ngunan Adamu and Norma Gregory, The Common Room

Regeneration specialist The Common Room has appointed five new team members of staff to its team.

Carol Bell, Mercedes Broadbent and Nancy Doyle-Hall join the board of the company, which is leading the redevelopment of the Grade II listed Neville Hall - formerly the headquarters of The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers.

Carol is an experienced leader in the public and voluntary sector who has commissioned and delivered large scale cultural programmes, including the Great Exhibition of the North in 2018.

Mercedes is policy, communications and political lead at Managers in Partnership (MiP), the trade union for senior health and care managers. Prior to this Mercedes held roles in public policy and campaigning, and did some volunteering for the Mining Institute in the past.

Nancy is executive director of the Virgin Money Foundation with a range of board knowledge and an understanding of the fundraising environment within which The Common Room will operate.

Ngunan Adamu and Norma Gregory have also been appointed as consultants specialising in diversity and inclusion in heritage, and will help shape The Common Room’s events programme and work with schools, colleges and universities.

Ngunan is a journalist and social entrepreneur, experienced in working with diverse audiences and communities. She is director of the radio training academy iWoman and a presenter on BBC Radio Merseyside.

Norma is a historian and heritage consultant, specialising in the African Caribbean experience in the UK and sharing hidden and undocumented histories through creative digital projects, exhibitions, online media and digital arts production.

Liz Mayes, chief executive of The Common Room, commented: “Carol, Mercedes and Nancy each bring with them valuable experience as leaders in different sectors, and Ngunan and Norma have joined us to share their considerable expertise in celebrating diverse heritage and storytelling that inclusive of all our communities.

“The whole team at The Common Room has a commitment to equality, inclusion and diversity and our Board and consultants will help bring this to bear on our operations in the coming years, supporting us to be a leader in this field.”

Karen Eve, The Bridges

Sunderland retail centre The Bridges has appointed Karen Eve as centre director.

Karen joins the Bridges from Teesside, where she oversaw the running of the Castlegate Shopping Centre and Wellington Square Centre, Shopping Centre in Stockton-on-Tees, Captain Cook Shopping Centre in Middlesbrough along with two multi-storey car parks and a Business Centre.

While on Teesside Karen was also on a number of boards, including as an ambassador of the Federation for Women In Enterprise (FEW), patron of Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation and a director of Stockton BID.

Commenting on her appointment, Karen said: “I am very excited about being in Sunderland. The Bridges is a fantastic centre and Sunderland is a very aspirational city.

“It’s somewhere with so much potential, so many things going on and I am delighted that I can be part of it.”

Dan Johnston, Jonathan Watt and Hannah Booth, Animmersion UK

Digital visualisation specialist Animmersion UK has appointed three new recruits to its team.

Dan Johnston has joined the team as unity developer, Jonathan Watt joins the business as front end developer and Hannah Booth has come onboard as business administrator.

Dan brings a range of knowledge in developing VR games for autism therapy, as well as experience in immersive spatial audio systems and sound design for mixed reality applications.

Recent graduate Jonathan graduated from Northumbria University this year, and gained experience while working on placement with HMRC as a java developer.

Hannah, who has recently completed her Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship with Animmersion, has secured a full time permanent contract, and will support the business administration and finance teams, helping with day to day activities in the office.

Samuel Harrison, managing director of Animmersion UK, commented: “This year has been an incredibly exciting time for the team at Animmersion, demonstrating our ability to attract new people and our commitment to nurturing local talent.

“The addition of Dan, Jonathan and Hannah is exactly what we need to be able to continue to grow the business and meet the ever increasing demands of clients.

“We actively encourage the team to develop their skills, and we have a number of people studying towards higher education and professional qualifications, which will build on their existing skills and experience.”

Mick Greenfield, The Materials Processing Institute

The Materials Processing Institute has appointed Mick Greenfield as director of steel.

An industry specialist in steel production, Mick will focus on developing internal operations at the Institute’s Normanton Plant and providing support for clients and research partners in the field of liquid steel production and operations management.

Mick, who graduated from the University of Sheffield with a joint master’s degree in metals technology, has held several senior positions within the steel manufacturing industry, particularly in electric arc furnace-based melt shops.

In addition, he has experience of producing the full spectrum of grades from rebar to high alloy for such demanding applications as power generation and aerospace.

Chris McDonald, the Institute’s chief executive, commented: “This is the first of several high-calibre appointments that will further enhance this Institute’s reputation as a world-leading centre for industrial research and innovation.

“The funding has allowed us to create the role of director of steel and Mick’s expertise and experience will make him pivotal in driving forward the innovation that will support UK industry while at the same time meeting carbon reduction targets.” Mick added: “This is a hugely exciting and interesting time to be joining the Institute, to be part of a team that is setting the agenda for a new and revolutionary industrial landscape in the UK.”

Neil Slade, Recovery Connections Enterprise

Social enterprise Recovery Connections Enterprise has appointed Neil Slade as general manager.

Tasked with overseeing daily operational activities as well as leading the wider business functions including policy, finance and growth, Neil champions positive people development, supporting volunteers to make confident changes to their lives while offering them a step up, into the world of employment.

Born in Middlesbrough, Neil’s career spans thirty years in the hospitality sector and includes managerial positions at renowned hotels and spas across the UK.

Neil is a supporter of the voluntary sector where he has devoted years of service to the UK Scout Association and others where he champions people and their ability to diversify in challenging circumstances.

Neil commented: “I’m delighted to be joining Recovery Connections where I can help to create a positive and successful community-based social enterprise hub through lived experience whilst promoting positive people power. I’m also really looking forward to being closer to my family in the North East and it’s great to be back in Middlesbrough.

“I began my career in hospitality at the age of just 11, helping in a local family-run hotel, and have been lucky to work at some outstanding venues. To bring that knowledge to the Recovery Connections family and make a positive difference in my hometown is an honour.”

Dot Smith, CEO of Recovery Connections, added: “Neil is a fantastic addition to the organisation. His energy, enthusiasm and expertise in hospitality management gained over his career will be a real asset.

“We welcome him on board and look forward to seeing his passion for the region and our charity aims take our Social Enterprise hub to even greater success.”

Paul Shields, MHA Tait Walker

Accountancy and advisory firm MHA Tait Walker has promoted Paul Shields to partner.

Paul is a chartered accountant with more than 22 years of experience acting for owner-managed businesses. His work sees him advising clients across a spectrum of industry sectors, but with a particular specialism in manufacturing, engineering, property and construction.

Paul initially joined MHA Tait Walker in 2007 as a senior in the Business Services audit team and was promoted to associate partner in 2016.

Paul commented: “I am delighted to join the partnership board and am looking forward to working with the rest of the partner group and wider team to help grow the business, particularly across Durham and Wearside, where we have continued to expand our client base year on year.”

Andrew Moorby, managing partner, added: “We are delighted to announce Paul’s promotion as he is an excellent addition to the partnership here at MHA Tait Walker.

“His extensive experience, in-depth expertise and commitment to doing a great job for clients and working with his team exemplifies the qualities we look for in our team and which we bring to our clients across a wide range of sectors.”

Andy Foster, Port of Sunderland

Port of Sunderland has appointed Andy Foster as business development manager.

Andy has over two decades experience in a range of commercial and marketing roles, joining the port having previously spent seven years as commercial manager at Port of Tyne.

In his new role as business development manager, Andy will work closely with port director Matthew Hunt and the leadership team in a bid to position the port - not only as a desirable location for those in the maritime industry – but also as an attractive destination for high-growth businesses looking to relocate to the region.

Andy commented: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining Port of Sunderland. As someone who was born and bred in the city with a long-held passion for the maritime sector, it really is the perfect role and I can’t wait to roll my sleeves up and get to work.

“There’s no hiding from the fact the industry has had its challenges in recent months, especially during the early stages of the pandemic. However, the port has continued to outperform projections and I’m looking forward to rising to the challenge of maintaining this momentum as we look to the future.

“The port has invested millions in infrastructure improvements since securing enterprise zone status and with cargo volumes continuing to increase month-on-month, it’s an incredibly exciting period for everyone involved in the organisation. I don’t think I could’ve have picked a better time to jump on board.”

Matthew Hunt, managing director of Port of Sunderland, added: “We are delighted to welcome Andy on board and we have no doubt his experience and knowledge will prove a real asset to the port as we plan for the future.

“Despite the challenges we’ve faced over recent months, 2020 has proven to be somewhat of a landmark year for the port and – as our new investment sites open for business – it will require all hands on deck to ensure we’re in the best position possible to take advantage of the many opportunities this will generate.

“Andy will play a key role in helping us achieve those goals and his appointment will help drive the business forward and realise our collective ambitions in what is an incredibly exciting period for everyone involved with the port.”

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