Eight men - and one woman - win appointment to newly created Cambridgeshire business board to spearhead growth

New business board of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority: Top: LtoR: Aamir Khali

New business board of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority: Top: LtoR: Aamir Khalid, Charles Roberts and Andy Neely. Middle LtoR: Mayor Palmer, Tina Barsby and Austen Adams. Bottom: LtoR: Doug Cuff, Mark Dorsett and William Haire - Credit: Archant

A nine strong business board made up of eight men and one woman has taken over the work of the local enterprise partnership.

Mayor James Palmer and his deputy Councillor Charles Roberts will both serve on the board but have no voting rights.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority that oversees the board announced the line up today.

A spokesman said the board “is genuinely business led”.

Austen Adams, divisional managing director at Avingtrans plc, is one of the new appointees.

He manages a portfolio of 12 industrial businesses in the energy and medical sectors including engineering businesses Peter Brotherhood, which is based in Peterborough, and Chatteris-based Stainless Metalcraft.

Having started his engineering career as an apprentice, Austen has over 30 years’ experience growing and managing profitable engineering businesses. He is the driving force behind the investment in award-winning apprenticeships at the companies he manages and sees the investment in skills as a long term priority for business success.

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Mr Adams said: “The region has great potential to go for growth and the local business community has an important role to play in this strategy.

“Creating jobs, attracting investment and championing an environment for businesses to thrive in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is something close to my heart so I am looking forward to the contribution I can make to the business board of combined authority.”

The first meeting of board took place last month and the chairman is Professor Aamir Khalid, director of technology at TWI (The Welding Institute).

Deputy chairman is Professor Andy Neely, pro vice chancellor (enterprise and business relations) at the University of Cambridge.

Also on the board is Dr Tina Barsby, senior director of BioMed Realty, Doug Cuff, Global HR Services director and UK country director, Caterpillar Inc, Mark Dorsett and agriculture development manager of the East of England Agricultural Society, William Haire.

A combined authority spokesman said: “The appointments follow a robust recruitment campaign over six months as well as social media coverage; over 1000 organisations were directly approached regarding business board membership.

The director of business & skills, John Hill, who has joined the authority from his previous role as managing director at the Department for International Trade, will act as lead officer from the combined authority who are the accountable body.

Mr Hill said: “We have the best performing economy in the country outside London, contributing over £5bn a year to UK PLC, and have two of the top five fastest growing cities in the UK.

“The board gives commerce a strong voice in strategy development and decision making relating to the combined authority.”