In our series on new private sector Board members, we talk to NEIL MACDONALD.
Neil brings a huge amount of experience as a non-executive director and a trustee to the LEP Board, and says he’s delighted to have this opportunity to join the Sheffield City Region.
After a career in accountancy in international engineering, and spearheading massive change at Firth Rixson as it became one of the world’s largest manufacturers of seamless aerospace rings, he retired – to some extent. Then he promptly took up voluntary work and civic service across a huge range of organisations.
He’s been the Master Cutler, and during his tenure chaired the region’s manufacturing forum. He’s still active with the Cutlers Company, and is currently on the board of Pressure Technologies, the AIM-listed engineering group. He chairs two small tech companies and is a director of Maker Hub CIC, supporting growing digital businesses.
Then there’s public sector, charity and arts boards both regionally and nationally, and various positions with the NHS.
He doesn’t do golf, and he hasn’t got a shed. But he does have a passion for the area and giving something back. So he hopes to bring two key skills to the LEP Board – the ability to be an ambassador for the region, and the experience of helping executive teams and managers to develop and grow.
As an external ambassador he wants to see the LEP telling the man in the street what it actually does. He enjoys using social media and thinks it can help in promoting the good the LEP does. He’s enthusiastic about the assets such as the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre.
“The LEP can be the link between so many fantastic projects – a catalyst for collaboration. The arrival of McLaren and Boeing isn’t just about jobs, it’s about credibility for the whole region. They bring their supply chain needs and we have a massively strong supply chain here.”
And turning to more internal-focused work on the Board, he says: “The biggest kick I get is seeing people develop and grow. I hope to enable people to thrive and extend their skills, knowledge and experience.”