INDEPENDENT business support organisation RTC North has made several key appointments.

ROGER COATHUP has been appointed senior executive working on business futures for Foresight North East, which is run by RTC North and has been operating since 1996.

Before joining RTC North, Mr Coathup worked in investment banking on projects in Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Johannesburg and London.

On returning to the North-East, he was chief executive of a specialist travel company before spending two years as a business manager at Northumbria University.

ROSS GOLIGHTLY has joined the company as a senior marketing executive from PPG Aerospace.

A graduate of the University of Northumbria with a first class honours degree in marketing, Mr Golightly, 27, was a marketing controller for Electrolux.

He joins RTC North's business growth team and will be responsible for a number of accounts.

ALAN WEDDELL, from Ashington, Northumbria, has joined the company as a technology transfer executive having spent the past two years providing product development consultancy to the UK pharmaceutical industry. The 32-year-old has an MSc in molecular biology from the University of Leicester and has more than seven years experience in pharmaceutical research and development with companies such as Abbott Laboritories, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca.

He will be working for NHS Innovations North, a free service delivered by RTC North which helps NHS Trusts and their employees protect intellectual property and turn new ideas into innovative medical products.

GILLIAN PARSONS has been appointed marketing co-ordinator. She will be working on the company's corporate marketing and PR activity and will also be writing for business magazine, Managing Change.

Previously employed by Sunderland City Council, she is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and is studying for a diploma.