A GOVERNMENT department which aims to increase the North-East’s record annual £14bn of overseas sales has appointed a new advisor.

Jonathan Leonard has been appointed regional export finance adviser for the North-East and will be working closely with businesses in the region to help guide them overcome some of the barriers around finding the right export finance or insurance cover.

Mr Leonard, 28, from Sunderland, began his career at Northern Rock and worked his way up to section manager, leading departments in both the debt recovery and mortgage retention areas.

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In 2008 he joined HSBC, where he worked in a number of roles, most recently as a front-line relationship manager working with internationally-focused businesses in the North-East.

David Coppock, UKTI’s international trade director, said: “This new role forms part of Government plans to raise the profile of the UK’s export credit agency, UK Export Finance, which provides export credit insurance and export finance support where there are gaps in what is offered by banks and insurers.

“We’re delighted to welcome Jonathan to the team. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that can only be of benefit to the region’s companies."

Mr Leonard added: “Having worked in the North East for many years, I know firsthand how much we have to offer and I will be working hard to ensure that firms have the support they need.”