Our board

Meet our board members, view their register of interests and download meeting minutes

North East LEP board members

The North East LEP Board includes eighteen senior leaders from the private, public, education and voluntary and community sectors and is chaired by Lucy Winskell, OBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Employability & Partnerships) at Northumbria University. The Board includes three representatives from the North of Tyne Combined Authority and three representatives from the North East Combined Authority.

Scroll down this page to find the latest Board papers, meetings and agendas.

Lucy Winskell

Lucy Winskell OBE

Chair of the Board

Lucy Winskell is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Employability & Partnerships) at Northumbria University.

She has been a member of the Executive team at Northumbria University since 2010, having made the transition into higher education following a 28-year career as a litigation lawyer.

Lucy’s non-executive career has been focussed on economic growth and regeneration within the North East.

Her regional roles have included Board Member of the North East Regional Investment Fund and North East Access to Finance (both supporting SME growth); non-executive Director of Government Office North East; Chair of the North East Industrial Development Board; Board Member of ING; and Chair of Board, North East England Chamber of Commerce.

Lucy was  Chair of the Board of the North East England Chamber of Commerce (NEECC) for six years, standing down at the end of that term in October 2020.

She has also been a strong advocate for the region at a national level. As a member of Arts and Humanities Research Council she highlighted the importance of the cultural and creative sector in a regional economy, and as Vice Chair of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) she has ensured a regional voice forms part of BCC’s lobbying and policy work.

You can read Lucy’s Register of Interests here.

Heidi Mottram

Heidi Mottram

Vice Chair

Chief Executive Officer of the Northumbrian Water Group Limited and Northumbrian Water Limited since 2010.

Heidi Mottram’s success at Northumbrian Water Group follows on from an excellent track record in the rail industry where her career began with British Rail in the mid-1980s. She progressed through a variety of senior leadership roles in British Rail and, following privatisation, in Great North Eastern Railway, Midland Mainline, Arriva Trains Northern and Managing Director of Northern Rail, the largest train operator in the UK.

She was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list 2010 for services to the rail industry and a CBE in the Birthday Honours list 2018 for services to the water industry and business community.

Mrs Mottram is currently also a Board Member of Centrica, the CBI, WaterAid and is also Vice-Chair of Newcastle University Council.

In 2016, her commitment to the community was recognised when she was selected to be the Prince of Wales’ Business Ambassador to the North East, in conjunction with Business in the Community. In the same year Mrs Mottram was also named North East Business Executive of the Year recognising her significant contribution to business in the North East of England. More recently, in November 2020, Mrs Mottram received the Institute of Directors Yorkshire & North East Chair’s Award for Excellence in Director and Board Practice, recognising her strong and effective leadership within NWG and across the North of England.

Under her leadership NWG achieved the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of Sustainable Development in 2014 and has been the only water company on the World’s Most Ethical companies list for nine years (2010-2017 and 2019-2020). NWG has twice been named the UK’s Utility Company of the Year under Heidi’s leadership. The Company was also named as Water Company of the Year in 2018 and 2020 as well as being awarded the British Quality Foundation’s UK Excellence Award 2018, one of the highest accolades any business can achieve.

You can read Heidi’s Register of Interests here.

Gillian Hall

Chair of Innovation Board, member of Investment Board

Gillian is a highly respected contributor to private and public sector organisations through various non-executive roles (including Harbour Commissioner at the Port of Blyth), her corporate finance consultancy business and mentoring for growth. Gillian was the first female Senior Partner at Watson Burton LLP, a national law firm with offices in Newcastle, Leeds and London, and before that, led the firm’s corporate team for many years.

You can read Gillain’s Register of Interests here.

Erika Leadbeater

Private Sector Board member and Innovation Board Member

Erika began her career as a private practice solicitor specialising in shipping and the carriage of goods before joining the family business, marine access services company TSG Marine, as Operations Director in 2013. A science graduate, Erika is an advocate for small businesses and a member of the UK Government’s SME Advisory Board.


Read about Erika’s register of interests here.


John McCabe

LEP Board member and Skills Advisory Panel member

In 2013 John McCabe founded the strategic communications agency Fusion, subsequently growing and diversifying the business while creating new jobs.

Prior to setting up his own business, John held senior positions with some of the North East’s largest organisations.  From 2002 until 2013 John was corporate affairs director and later regional economic development director at Rio Tinto Alcan. There, he was responsible for the company’s relationships and engagement across the British, Scottish and Welsh governments and the institutions of the European Union. He participated in numerous international trade bodies, government working groups and think tanks, specialising in industrial and energy policy.

John is past president of the North East England Chamber of Commerce, a development committee member at The Prince’s Trust and is a trustee of Millfield House Foundation, the charity that works with strategic partners to fund policy development aimed at reducing poverty and inequality in the region.  As well as being a private sector board member John sits on the North East LEP’s skills advisory panel.

You can read John’s Register of Interests here.

Ammar Mirza CBE

Private sector Board member, Chair of Business Growth Board

A multi-award winning entrepreneur and innovation expert who has helped establish several hundred businesses in the North East.  Ammar is Founder and Chairman of not for profit social enterprise Asian Business Connexions (ABC) and President of the Federation of Asian Business alongside being a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management (FInstLM), and Royal Society of Arts(FRSA).  He has a particular interest in enterprise education as ex-Chair of Governors of a Primary School, Chair of the Progression Forum and a visiting Professor of Practice at Newcastle University, and helped launch the Primary Inspiration through Enterprise (PIE) Project Charity.

Ammar was appointed a CBE in 2014 for outstanding services to Business and the Community, and has been consistently recognised across the UK for his tireless efforts in supporting and promoting trade and industry including British Asian Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019, Maserati top 100 Entrepreneurs, Williams and Glyn top 50, Institute of Directors Special Judges Award, and British Community Honours Award.

Other roles held by Ammar include Chair of the Institute of Directors North East North, Member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for BaME Business, Private Sector Representative on European Structural Funds Advisory Board, Patron of Charlie Bear for Cancer Care Charity at and Founder of the SME Centre of Excellence.

Ammar is the North East LEP Board’s local SME representative.

You can read Ammar’s Register of Interests here.

Andrew Moffat, CBE

Chair of Investment Board

Andrew Moffat has extensive experience in financial, commercial and strategic roles within a number of international companies. He joined the Port of Tyne as the Finance and Commercial Director in 2007 before progressing to Chief Executive until October 2018. He was named a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year’s Honours List 2016 for services to the North East economy and UK ports. Andrew is Chair of the CBI’s Regional Council in the North East and a member of a number of other local partnership boards focused on the delivery of economic regeneration.

You can read Andrew’s Register of Interests here.

Mark Thompson

Private Sector Board member and Investment Board member

Mark Thompson is managing partner of Ryder Architecture, where he is responsible for the strategic development of the highly successful design company with offices across the UK and a growing international portfolio from offices in Hong Kong and Vancouver. He sits on the NELEP investment board and is also on the CBI’s Regional Council for the North East and their National Construction Council.

You can read Mark’s Register of Interests here.

Kate Wickham

Kate Wickham MBE

Board member

Kate, who in 2017, was recognised with a MBE for services to export and outward investment.

Since being appointed as Managing Director of Gate 7 in 2011, Kate has invested heavily in equipment, expansion and a new purpose-built factory in the USA. The company specialises in the supply of decals and printed components to the construction equipment, agricultural and industrial markets and has global contracts with JCB and Volvo, and European contracts with Komatsu, Bobcat and Kuhn.

You can view Kate’s Register of Interests here.

Professor Chris Day

Professor Chris Day

Board member, Vice-Chancellor and President at Newcastle University

Professor Chris Day took up the role of Vice-Chancellor and President at Newcastle University with effect from 1 January 2017.  A Consultant Hepatologist with an international reputation in medical research, he is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.  He has served on the Council of the Medical Research Council and the Executive of the Medical Schools Council.  Professor Day was Chair of the Clinical Medicine Sub-Panel for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) Exercise.

Professor Day is currently a member of the Universities UK Board, Chair of the Office for Strategic Co-ordination of Health Research (OSCHR), Chair of the N8 Group of Research Universities, and, for REF 2021, will Chair the institutional environment pilot panel, which will pilot the assessment of the research environment at institution level. Professor Day is also a Deputy Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear.

You can read Professor Day’s Register of Interests here.

Ellen Thinnesen

Chair of Skills Advisory Panel and LEP Board member

Ellen is Chief Executive of Education Partnership North East as well as Principal and Chief Executive of City of Sunderland College, the largest multi-site College within the North East providing education and training to over 13500 students and apprentices from across the region. Ellen is passionate about social mobility, and during what she describes as her ‘second career’ she has held numerous senior positions within education in Greater Manchester and the Yorkshire and Humber regions. Ellen has also had a long and successful ‘first career’ working within private and public health services across the country. She has also held numerous board positions in the not-for-profit and University sectors within and external to the North East and continues to contribute nationally to help influence education policy and reform.

You can read Ellen’s Register of Interests here.

Carol Botten

Carol Botten

Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector (VCSE) LEP Board member

Carol Botten was appointed CEO of VONNE in September 2018 following four years as Deputy CEO. With almost 25 years’ experience in the voluntary and community sector, Carol is passionate about supporting the sector’s leadership and governance capabilities and developing new programmes and projects to increase organisations’ sustainability and resilience.

She currently leads on external policy work with the North East LEP and advises on skills, employability and inclusive growth for the North of Tyne Combined Authority. Carol is a member of Northern Powergrid’s Social Issues Expert Group and Stakeholder Panel, the North East Brexit Group and the Cabinet Office’s National Leadership programme.

Carol is the Board Diversity Champion at the North East LEP.

You can read Carol’s Register of Interests here.

Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn

Vice Chair, Main Board. Elected Mayor, North Tyneside Council

Norma Redfearn CBE took up a four-year term of office as Elected Mayor of North Tyneside in May 2013, and was re-elected for a further four years in May 2017.

As the Authority’s principal public spokesperson, her role is to give political direction to the Council, appoint Cabinet and Deputy Mayor, decide on the scheme of delegation, Chair meetings of Cabinet and represent the Council on external bodies.

Norma has always lived in North Tyneside and has a real passion for the borough in addition to an extensive track-record in Local Government.

Before becoming the Elected Mayor she represented Riverside Ward in North Shields as Ward Councillor between 2004 and 2013. During this time Norma also served as the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Learning.

A graduate of Newcastle University, she has had a 30 year career in teaching, both in primary and secondary education. This included 14 years as a headteacher and four years in an education advisory capacity, before moving into education related consultancy.

You can read Mayor Redfern’s Register of Interests here.

Mayor Jamie Driscoll

Mayor Jamie Driscoll

Mayor of the North of Tyne Combined Authority

After leaving school at 16, Jamie returned to education as a mature student to gain an engineering degree at Northumbria University.  He worked as an engineer making breathing apparatus and in the electronics and IT sector, later setting up his own software development firm.  Before being elected to the Office of Mayor, North of Tyne, Jamie was a Labour and Cooperative Councillor in the Monument Ward in Newcastle City Centre.  A passionate socialist, Jamie is committed to driving forward his manifesto pledges around community wealth building, addressing the climate emergency, revitalising life in local communities, building affordable homes and delivering lifelong learning for the people North of Tyne.  Originally born on Teesside, Jamie now lives in Gosforth with his wife Caroline who is a GP and sons Leon and Nelson.

You can view Mayor Driscoll’s Register of Interests here.

Councillor Tracey Dixon

Councillor Tracey Dixon

Vice chair, main Board. Leader, South Tyneside Council

Councillor Dixon is Leader of South Tyneside Council.

Prior to becoming Leader of the Council in November 2020, she served for many years as a member of the Cabinet, including as Lead Member for Culture and Wellbeing between 2008-2011, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety in 2012-2015, and Lead Member for Independence and Wellbeing between 2016-2020, as well as Deputy Leader of the Council between 2019-2020.

Cllr Dixon was first elected to represent the Labour Party for the ward of Whitburn and Marsden in May 2002.

Cllr Dixon is the North East Combined Authority’s (NECA) Thematic Lead for Economic Development and Digital and chairs the NECA Economic Development and Digital Board (EDDAB). She is a member of the North East Joint Transport Committee. She is also vice chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership Board as well as a member of its Investment Board. In addition, she serves as the co-vice-chair of the Association for Public Sector Excellence’s (APSE) Northern Region.

Professionally, Councillor Dixon co-owns and runs a restaurant, and has an extensive background in hotel management.

You can read Cllr Dixon’s Register of Interests here.

Councillor Nick Forbes

Leader of Newcastle City Council

Nick Forbes is a Labour politician and became Leader of Newcastle City Council in 2011.

Nick has made economic growth a key feature of his council, securing new financial powers by negotiating one of the first round of City Deals with government and has been instrumental in securing a devolution deal for the North of Tyne. He has played a leading role in raising the profile of local government in a time of austerity and has been involved in national lobbying efforts for successive local government finance settlements.

Current roles include Vice Chair of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority, Vice Chair of the Core Cities Cabinet and Business Competitiveness portfolio holder for the North of Tyne Combined Authority.

At a national level, Nick is the Leader of Labour in local government, heading up the Local Government Association (LGA) Labour Group, representing the views of more than 6000 Labour Councillors in Westminster. He is currently Senior Vice Chair of the LGA. He is also a member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committe.

You can read Councillor Forbes’ Register of Interests here.

Councillor Martin Gannon

Leader of Gateshead Council

Martin was elected as a member of Gateshead Council in 1984 and served in various roles including Deputy Leader for six years, before being elected as Leader of the Council in May 2016.

Prior to this, Martin worked for the GMB Trade Union for 23 years undertaking a number of roles including Regional Officer, Head of Research, Health and Safety, and Media and Communications.

As Leader of the Council, Martin is involved in several national and regional bodies. He is Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee and is a board member of the North East Combined Authority, North East LEP, LGA City Regions Board and Gateshead College. Martin is also a Non-Executive Director of Gateshead Health NHS Trust.

Martin is married with one daughter.

You can read Councillor Gannon’s Register of Interests here.

Councillor Simon Henig

Leader of Durham County Council and LEP Board member

Locally, Councillor Henig is Leader of Durham County Council, Chair of the County Durham Partnership and Chair of the Association of North East Councils. Nationally, he is a lead member on the People and Places Board of the Local Government Association and a member of Labour’s National Policy Forum. Councillor Henig is also Principal Lecturer in politics at Sunderland University and an accomplished author on the same subject.

You can read Councillor Henig’s Register of Interests here.

Cllr Graeme Miller

Councillor Graeme Miller

Observer, Main Board. Leader of Sunderland City Council

Cllr Miller was appointed Leader of Sunderland City Council in May 2018. He was first elected to the council in 2006 to represent Washington South ward. Before becoming Leader, Cllr Miller was the Cabinet’s portfolio holder for Health, Housing and Adult Services. Cllr Miller is particularly passionate about mental health as the basis for good overall health and wellbeing and he is a Health and Mental Health Champion for the city.

He is chair of Age UK Sunderland and a school governor at John F. Kennedy and George Washington Primary Schools.  He also represents the council and city on a number of bodies and organisations and is chair of the North East Combined Authority Leadership Board, the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) LLP, the Sunderland Outbreak Control Board and a member of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

As Leader, Cllr Miller’s focus is continuing to work in partnership on the city’s economic regeneration, building on progress in relation to housing and infrastructure development and skills and employment opportunities.

You can read Councillor Miller’s Register of Interests here.

Councillor Glen Sanderson

Councillor Glen Sanderson, Leader, Northumberland County Council

Observer, Main Board on behalf of North of Tyne Combined Authority

Glen was first elected to the county council in 1989 and apart from a short break, has served as a county councillor since then.

He has held a number of positions in the council during that time, including as a cabinet member for the environment and local services and was appointed Leader of the Council on 23 September.
Glen has also held senior roles within the Northumberland National Park Committee, having recently stepped down after being its chair for five years and is a strong advocate for Climate Change.
He has been a magistrate for many years and is also a regional lead peer for the Local Government Association.

Glen represents the rural constituency of Longhorsley in Northumberland, which also includes the villages of Hepscott and Mitford.

Glen has farmed the family farm for 45 years and is married with three grown up children.  In his spare time hobbies include watching Newcastle United FC and walking.

You can view Cllr Sanderson’s Register of Interests here

Meeting minutes and agendas


The North East LEP regularly publishes agendas, reports and minutes of its Board and sub Investment Board on this page. Where reports contain confidential information, this may be excluded under The Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.



Where can I find out more about the targets in the Strategic Economic Plan and how we are performing against them?

You can find information on all of our targets here. The North East LEP is constantly reviewing progress against the targets as new data emerges and publishing regular updates on the news section of this website.

How was the SEP developed?

The first version of the Strategic Economic Plan was published in April 2014. It followed on from the North East Independent Economic Review and set out a high level vision for the economy and included investment programmes for Local Growth Fund and European funds which were available at that time.

The SEP was refreshed during 2016 and launched in March 2017 following an extensive consultation involving businesses and economic partners. The refresh process enabled the region to reflect on new economic data following the end of the recession and the changing economic policy environment including the decision to leave the European Union.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

If you can’t find what you are looking for on this page, please do get in touch.

You can call us on (0191) 561 5420 or email [email protected]