Mayor Jamie Driscoll has welcomed the appointment of Lucy Winskell OBE as new Chair of The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP).

Lucy, who is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Employability & Partnerships) at Northumbria University, replaces Andrew Hodgson OBE, who has held the role for the last four years.

The North East LEP is one of 38 in the country and sets the economic agenda for the region to promote and develop economic growth across the North East. Its geographic patch covers the local authority areas of County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “Lucy knows our region inside out. She has a formidable track record and brings with her a wealth of expertise and experience. There’s an opportunity here to pull together as a region so we emerge from COVID stronger and more resilient.

“Lucy gets that. It’s a privilege to welcome her to the job.”

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll

Lucy 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; Vice Chair of BE Group and a Member of CBI Regional Council.

Lucy has been Chair of the Board of the North East England Chamber of Commerce (NEECC) for six years and will stand down from this role shortly.

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.

Lucy is a long-time supporter of the North East LEP. She contributed to the Adonis Review as a panellist at its launch in 2013 and was also involved in the creation of the Strategic Economic Plan and its refresh. She represented the four North East Universities on the Business Growth Board.

Well-regarded regionally, Lucy has chaired the judging panel for the Journal’s North East Business Executive of the Year Awards for the last five years, steering the panel to celebrate leadership in emerging new sectors. She has appeared in the Journal’s ‘Most Influential’ every year since its inception.

Lucy Winskell OBE said: “Having supported the work of the North East LEP since its inception, I am delighted to be appointed Chair of the Board.

“Andrew Hodgson leaves a fantastic legacy and I’m looking forward to building on his work to date. It’s a privilege to work with the Board, the Executive and the LEP’s stakeholders, both regionally and nationally, to contribute to the successful delivery of the Strategic Economic Plan.

“Given the significant challenges currently presented by COVID-19, it is vitally important that we formulate a cohesive response centred on the creativity, innovation and entrepreneurism that our region excels at.

“Collaboration and partnership working has never been more important than now. My priority will be to support the Chief Executive and her team, and work with our Board and partners, both regionally and nationally to ensure the North East emerges stronger and more resilient, as well as a more sustainable and equitable region to live, learn and work.”

Andrew Hodgson OBE commented: “Pre-COVID-19 we had achieved base camp, with steady progress in terms of regional employment figures, our ambition to create more and better jobs, and the highest amount of foreign inward investment outside of London.

“Now what we need is continuity, new energy and focus and Lucy offers all of these and more. I know she’ll bring her significant experience to bear as government devolves more responsibility to the regions to make sure great things happen for the North East.”

Professor Andrew Wathey CBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, added: “I congratulate Lucy warmly on her appointment. Lucy brings deep local knowledge to the role, as well as extensive experience of both the business and higher education sectors, which will be widely welcomed. Her appointment will strength the bonds between the HE and business communities of the North East and will help to build a valuable mutual understanding.

Councillor Iain Malcolm, Chair of the North East Combined Authority, said: “Lucy is already a fantastic ambassador for the North East and brings both influence and experience to a key role for the region. We look forward to working with her to achieve our joint bold ambition for more and better jobs for everyone.”

Heidi Mottram, Vice Chair of the North East LEP’s Board and the CEO of Northumbrian Water, said: “Lucy is a talented and dedicated Chair who brings a wealth of experience to the position.She has a highly impressive track record and strong credibility in the eyes of the North East community.

“Lucy will be a fantastic advocate for the North East across the Northern Powerhouse area and UK and we are thrilled to welcome her to the Board.”