A LIFELONG Sunderland fan is the new man in charge on Tyneside.
Leighton Group founder Paul Callaghan has been unveiled as the new chairman of the NewcastleGateshead Initiative, a partnership between the two councils and 170 private sector partners across the North East.
The scheme aims to promote the region as a tourist destination and attract new investment.
Making Tyneside successful was good for the economic health of the entire North East, he said: “I believe passionately in this region, and want to see it grow and prosper.
“I think that this is only possible by encouraging a vibrant and imaginative cultural environment, nurturing and supporting entrepreneurs, developing indigenous businesses, attracting inward investment and extending education to create a talented and well-educated population.
“NewcastleGateshead is the region’s capital and its most important conurbation. If the North East is to be successful, then NewcastleGateshead must be successful and NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s role is fundamental in helping to shape and drive that success.”
As well as establishing the successful software group, Paul helped found the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, led the formation of Business Link North East and chaired regional development agency One North East.
Gateshead council leader Mick Henry said: “We’re delighted Paul will be joining the board as chairman.
“He brings with him a wealth of experience and I’m sure he’ll play an important role in helping to further cement NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s reputation as a significant economic driver for the area; as one of the most successful and respected destination management and marketing agencies in the UK; and as a fantastic example of public-private partnership working in action.”