North East Leadership Board Members

Durham

  • Councillor Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council and Vice-Chair of the Leadership Board
    Labour
    Simon Henig has been Leader of Durham County Council since 2008, guiding the council through its transition to unitary local government. He is Chair of the County Durham Partnership and Vice Chair of the Association of North East Councils. At national level he is lead member on the Culture, Tourism and Sport Board of the Local Government Association and a member of Labour’s National Policy Forum. He is a Principal Lecturer in Politics at Sunderland University and has authored several books on the subject.
  • SUBSTITUTE
    Councillor Alan Napier
    Labour

Gateshead

  • Councillor Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council
    Labour
    Councillor Martin Gannon was born in County Durham but has lived in Gateshead for over forty years. He is married with a daughter. He was first elected as a councillor in 1984. In 2010 he was appointed as Deputy Leader and then Leader in May 2016. He is actively involved in a number of major national bodies, including the Local Government Association. Locally he represents Gateshead on various regional bodies. Prior to taking up the role of Deputy Leader he was a Regional Officer for GMB Trade Union from 1987 to 2010.
  • SUBSTITUTE
    Councillor Catherine Donovan
    Labour

Newcastle

  • Councillor Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council and Thematic Lead for Transport and Digital Connectivity, Combined Authority
    Labour
    A councillor since 2000, Nick was elected Leader of Newcastle City Council in 2011. As well as chairing the Council’s Cabinet, he represents the city on a range of bodies and is Vice Chair of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority. A member of Labour’s National Policy Forum, Nick chairs FRESH, the campaign for a Smoke Free North East. He is also Vice Chair of the Core Cities Cabinet and leads for Labour Local Government nationally on Children and Young People issues. Nick trained in the NHS and is Chief Executive of Involve NE, a regional charity established to give a voice to communities in health and care service planning and delivery.
  • SUBSTITUTE
    Councillor Joyce McCarty
    Labour

North East LEP

  • Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership
    North East Local Enterprise Partnership
    As Chief Executive Officer of Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD), Andrew is a leader in subsea engineering and in recent years has been awarded three Queen’s Awards for Industry. He’s currently Chair of Subsea North East, a board member of Subsea UK, Trust Board member for the International Centre for Life. He has also been awarded as North East Business Exec of the year, EY Entrepreneur of the Year and EEF’s UK manufacturing champion.
  • SUBSTITUTE
    Gillian Hall, North East Local Enterprise Partnership
    North East Local Enterprise Partnership

North Tyneside

  • Norma Redfearn, Elected Mayor of North Tyneside and Vice-Chair of the Leadership Board
    Labour
    Norma Redfearn took up her four-year term of office as Elected Mayor of North Tyneside in May 2013. As the authority’s principal public spokesperson, her role is to give political direction to the Council and appoint the Cabinet and Deputy Mayor, which provides the executive decision-making function for the organisation. Norma, who lives in North Tyneside, has an extensive track-record in local government. She has previously represented the Riverside Ward in North Shields as Ward Councillor since 2004. During 2005-2009 she served as 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 head teacher and four years in an education advisory capacity, before moving into education related consultancy. As a member of the NUT she served as a school delegate, executive member and is a past President of Newcastle Association and a National representative for Primary Schools.
  • SUBSTITUTE
    Councillor Bruce Pickard
    Labour

Northumberland

South Tyneside

Sunderland

  • Councillor Paul Watson, Chair of the Combined Authority and Leader of Sunderland City Council
    Labour
    Councillor Paul Watson became Leader of Sunderland City Council in May 2008, after previously serving as Deputy Leader since May 2006. Prior to that, he was Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Community Cohesion. Made redundant in 1981, he has been a self-employed businessman ever since. Councillor Watson has an Honours Degree in Law awarded by Teesside University in 1998. The Leader of the Council, as leader of the controlling majority political group, chairs the Cabinet and acts as the Council’s lead political spokesman. He is also Chair of the Port of Sunderland Board, one of the leading North Sea ports. Cllr Watson represents the City and the City Council at national and sub-national levels on a number of key organisations. He is an Executive Member of the Local Government Association; Member of the LGA City Regions Board; Chair of the National Key Cities Group; Chair of the Association of North East Councils; Member of the Sunderland Economic Leadership Board; Member of the European Union’s Committee of the Regions, representing the UK delegation on the Economic and Social, and Education Committees. He also sits on the Board of the Sunderland Football Club Foundation.
  • SUBSTITUTE
    Councillor Henry Trueman
    Labour