Chloe Shakesby

This week's North East appointments

Richard Swart, Rachel Mansfield and Alan Metcalfe, Advanced Manufacturing Forum

The Advanced Manufacturing Forum (AMF) has appointed a new chair and two vice-chairs to support its new growth strategy.

The AMF has appointed Richard Swart as chair, Rachel Mansfield as vice chair and has promoted board member Alan Metcalfe to vice chair.

Richard Swart is global sales and quality director at Berger Group and has more than 30 years’ experience, bolstered by his work in creating the Open North Foundation (ONF) in July 2020.

Rachel Mansfield, global service and innovation director at Tracerco and joint AMF vice chair, has been appointed to champion the AMF’s ambition to increase the diversity of membership. She will support the AMF’s drive to increase exposure and relevance outside of the core manufacturing community.

Alan Metcalfe, commercial director at Zenith People, who has sat on the AMF board for eight years has been appointed as joint vice chair.

Richard commented: “The AMF plays a vital role in connecting businesses in the North East and I’m delighted to be joining the AMF board.

“Like many other businesses the AMF has been impacted by Covid-19 but through strategic planning we will build its member base above pre-covid levels and expand the organisations it supports with its collaborative approach.

“My appointment as chair of the AMF is a wonderful opportunity to get to know the board and its members more closely and make a positive difference as part of the AMF’s new journey.”

Rachel said: “I am honoured to have been invited to join the Advanced Manufacturing Forum board to drive diversity within the member base and provide a new voice on the board.

“The AMF has a great track record of bringing together manufacturing businesses in the North East and providing opportunities for the sharing of best practice and steering discussions on topical issues.

“With almost 20 years of engineering experience, I’m excited to have the opportunity to influence the AMF strategy from a non-core manufacturing perspective.

“Increasing the AMF’s visibility to a broader network of industries, to further enable cross-functional and industrial interactions is an exciting prospect, as increased member value is to be gained through the sharing of knowledge and experience across a broader membership base.

“I’m looking forward to working with a board that is knowledgeable and enthusiastic to support its members.”

Alan added: “Having been a member of the AMF since 2008 and on the board since 2013 I have witnessed many changes within the organisation, and I’m pleased to be a part of driving this new chapter of growth for the AMF.

“A core offering of the AMF is the support that its members provide to each other as well as the business support Strategic Partners, such as Zenith People, provide to members by way of expertise that is specific to the manufacturing and engineering communities.

“Through the AMF’s collaborative approach common challenges are addressed, with the aim to ensure no business is left behind. With this mantra we are looking to grow our network with more SMEs in manufacturing, engineering and the supply chain.

“This is a pivotal moment in the AMF’s history as we are bringing in the manufacturing and engineering expertise of two individuals that will directly support our mission of providing a voice to the community and a diverse range of experiences that can support members.

“With my new position on the board I look forward to supporting Richard and Rachel and pushing forward with the AMF’s new diverse vision to expand the member organisations it supports and collaborate with external organisations who share common experiences.”

Sue Hayes, GBB

GBB has announced the appointment of Sue Hayes as its CEO.

Sue joins as CEO, to lead it through the regulatory process of becoming a bank and brings a wealth of financial services and fintech experience, having spent more than three decades in banking working for some of the largest established players and fastest growing challengers.

Prior to GBB, she led the retail finance business at challenger bank Aldermore, and also held executive positions at HBOS. She also ran retail and business banking at Santander before moving to Barclays Bank where she led business banking, comprising over a million customers and 4,000 colleagues.

Sue Hayes, CEO of GBB, said: “Accessing finance still remains a challenge for many developers and it’s my ambition to make that a much easier, more straightforward process.

“However, GBB’s purpose goes beyond lending money and that’s why I joined. Our team is passionate about supporting property developers in areas that have been forgotten about.

“We want to drive and support the movement to level up the North, get Britain building again, creating more homes and spaces, and drive economic prosperity for all.

“I am delighted to join an incredibly passionate, talented and committed team who are all united by our purpose and I’m very much looking forward to the exciting journey ahead.”

Alison Costello, eQuality Solutions

North East disability and wellbeing specialist eQuality Solutions (eQS) has appointed Alison Costello as its group finance director.

Alison is an accomplished finance director with a progressive career transforming financial and operational performance and driving revenue growth across diverse sectors.

She recently joined the team at the eQuality Solutions Group (eQS) where she felt the brand’s values and purpose resonated with her own core values. Headquartered in Hebburn, eQS is a national technology specialist in disability, diversity, inclusivity and mental wellbeing solutions.

Alison said: “I was excited to take on this position because I felt the values, purpose and vision of eQS really resonated with my own.

“One of my core strengths I look forward to applying to the role is my ability to build and maintain trusted relationships with business leaders and senior stakeholders to provide advice and insights as a key financial leader.

“I am passionate about driving performance by building, leading and developing high-performing, cross-functional teams, whilst guiding organisations through complex strategic change. I’m delighted to be joining an acquisitive business at this exciting moment in its expansion and growth.”

Linda Rodham, New College Durham Academies Trust

New College Durham Academies Trust has announced the appointment of Linda Rodham as its CEO.

Linda Rodham joins the Trust from a tenure of more than nine years as Headteacher of Wellfield School where she has a proven track record in school improvement.

Karly Fairley, deputy chief executive at New College Durham and chair of New College Durham Academies Trust board, said: “We are happy that County Durham has retained an exceptional educationalist who can lead our Trust in the next phase of its journey.

“Linda’s values quite clearly align with the Trust’s vision of putting students at the forefront of any decision-making and creating environments where both students and staff can thrive.”

Emily Watkinson, One Sports Warehouse

A County Durham sports goods retailer has appointed Emily Watkinson as its new sales and marketing manager.

Emily has joined the firm after working with the company on a consultancy basis and will spearhead its drive to grow its brand as they reopen post Covid-19.

Simon Lee, commercial director, said: “We have built up an excellent relationship with Emily over the last three years and are delighted that she has joined us on a permanent basis to help us recover from the impact of the pandemic and forge ahead with plans to improve our e-commerce website sales strategy and restart our mobile store service.”

Emily said: “I am so excited to be starting my new role as sales and marketing manager for One Sports Warehouse.

“This company has gone from strength to strength, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!”

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