A BUSINESSiQ round-up of the key moves at influential companies around the North East - who’s in and who’s out



The North East of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) has recently welcomed Dai Hayward, co-founder of Micropore Technologies as its new chair to lead the future of the cluster.

Taking over from Roger Kilburn who has been in the role for the past 12 months, Dai has a deep-rooted connection with NEPIC having been a founding board member during its inception in 2004 and then re-joining the board again in 2018.

As co-founder of Micropore Technologies, a leading authority on microparticle and nanomedicine engineering, Dai understands the sector, including large and SME business challenges and says he is keen to progress the contribution of NEPIC to the North East economy.

NEPIC has a long-standing history in supporting the growth of its members and is currently the largest process cluster in the UK, representing over 320 member companies who have interests across the North East.


Dai said: “I am honoured to take on the role and I am dedicated to continuing the great work Roger has implemented during his tenure as chair.

“I am keen to progress the opportunities available in our industry, as an ex-council member of the Chemical Industries Association, past chair of its Responsible Care Board and SOCSA and past chair of the Yorkshire Chemical Focus, I hope to utilise this knowledge and experience within my new role, including how we can continue to promote STEM across the region.”

Percy Hedley

One of the North East’s largest charities has announced it is working on major plans to transform and grow its offer following the appointment of a new CEO and three new senior professionals to its executive team.

New chief executive of The Percy Hedley Foundation, Rob McDonald, has hailed a ‘new beginning’ for the organisation and revealed plans to expand, optimise and update its services as well as highlight issues impacting its service users to help shape government policy.

The Foundation, which celebrated its 70th year in 2023, has appointed John Preston as chief financial officer, Andrew McGreevy as business development director and John Steward, head teacher at Percy Hedley School, as director of education.

The Percy Hedley Foundation has two schools, one college, an adult day service called Horizons and four specialist residential care homes in the north east which support people with physical and learning disabilities.

Unity Trust Bank

Unity Trust Bank has announced the appointment of a third Relationship Manager in its Yorkshire & North East team.

Experienced commercial banker, Matt Coatsworth, brings a wealth of expertise to Unity, across a range of sectors including corporate, healthcare and education.

He said: “For the past 11 years I’ve worked for a commercial bank in a variety of roles, most recently as a Relationship Manager supporting SME Healthcare clients within the South Yorkshire area. I’m so pleased to bring my experience to Unity, and I look forward to working for an organisation that makes a real difference to local communities across the UK.”

Unity, whose mission is to help create a better society for all, was founded by the trade union movement in 1984 to serve the common good. Celebrating its 40th birthday this year, it reported a record level of lending in its half-year results in 2023 - exceeding £900m for the first time and growing 9% from the previous year.

I’Anson Bros

North Yorkshire-based I’Anson Bros, one of the UK’s leading producers of high quality animal feeds, has appointed a new Commercial Director as the business looks to grow its sales with its new, £20m+ state-of-the-art feed mill and distribution centre.

Andrew Richardson has extensive experience within the Agri, Retail, Equine/Leisure and Fuel sectors having previously held the successful roles of Managing Director and Group CEO at two other major Agri supply companies.

He will take up his new post next month as Waterloo House, the firm’s technologically-advanced new production facility, the most significant development in the UK feed industry this century, prepares to go into production.

The appointment allows Director Will I’Anson, who previously fulfilled the role, to focus on procurement as the business grows.

Andrew said: “I have spent my working life in the animal feed and Agri business industry, and this ground-breaking development by I’Anson’s is one of the most exciting and forward-looking initiatives I have ever seen in the sector.

“With its latest technology and location, this investment will bring further serious advantages to its growing farm customers and business partners. I have long known and admired the business, not just for the quality of its products, but for the values it has, its commitment to the farming industry and its contribution to the wider rural economy.

“The new mill will deliver real benefits for customers, providing security of supply, the ability to meet growing demand and the development of new products to mention just a few. Increased production will also require more raw materials providing additional opportunities for arable farmers.”

I’Anson also has the sales divisions Masham Micronized Feeds, British Horse Feeds and The Golden Paste Company, selling in more than 40 countries both branded and contracted ‘own label’.

Designed and constructed by world-renowned Dutch milling industry specialists, Ottevanger with machinery installation by GAME Engineering, mill wiring by Apex Electrical, groundworks by HACS of Harrogate and site wiring by Preston Electrical, the facility is located on the Dalton Industrial Park in North Yorkshire. It has been designed to be as energy efficient as possible and with the least environmental impact.

It will complement the firm’s existing facility at Masham and is set to more than double production capacity by an additional 200,000 tonnes.

GB Bank

has appointed an experienced and accomplished senior banking figure as its new Chair.

Mark Sismey-Durrant joins the Middlesbrough-based bank after spending more than 40 years in the UK banking sector, with the majority of that time spent in senior roles.

He replaces former GB Bank Chair, Mike Kirsopp, who has stepped away from the business to return to an executive career.

The Northern Echo: Mark Sismey-Durrant Mark Sismey-Durrant (Image: Submitted)

For 23 years, Mark operated as CEO at three fast-growing UK banks, the last of these being Hampshire Trust Bank, where he led a private equity backed management buyout, restructured and scaled the business profitably, enabling it to raise growth capital of £100m.

Prior to that, Mark served as CEO at Sun Bank and then Heritable Bank where he executed diversification strategies in the specialist lending arena, secured Tier 1 & 2 capital, grew balance sheets to £1.3bn and generated pre-tax profits of £17m and £21m respectively.

He said: “I’m delighted to be joining GB Bank at such an exciting time for the business and I’m really looking forward to using my experience in specialist banking to help take GB Bank forward.

“The bank was founded with a commitment to serving communities which really makes it stand out and I’m looking forward to working with all of the GB Bank team as we take the business through the next stage of its development.

“There are lots of exciting opportunities in the market which we are looking to tap into as GB Bank matures and develops beyond its highly successful launch phase into an ambitious growth stage.”

GB Bank CEO and co-founder Stephen Lancaster said: “Mark’s vast experience and expertise are fundamental for the business as we look to progress to the next stage of our development.

“We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Mike Kirsopp as he leaves us. Mike has been a valued and integral member of the team for almost three years.”