A hugely experienced North East business executive has joined regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers as its new non-executive chairman.
Graham Thrower has held board-level positions in global investment, economic development and creative industry sectors, including with North East Access To Finance, Newcastle Science City and regional development agency One North East, where he was chairman of its Business & Skills Committee.
In his new part-time role, he will be responsible for providing corporate governance and oversight of NEL’s investment decision process, as well as acting as a sounding board for its executive team, and will also work to enhance the firm’s relationships with key stakeholders both within and outside the region.
During a 30-year business career, Graham has filled senior management roles within global financial institutions, including Citigroup, Societe Generale and Lloyds Bank, and is a regular speaker at business events and conferences around the world.
He is currently Head of Infrastructure and Investment at Urban Foresight, a strategy and innovation consultancy based in the North East.
He is also a trustee and non-executive director of the BALTIC Centre For Contemporary Art, served as chairman of national music development agency Generator for seven years and recently completed a PhD in institutional investment markets for infrastructure at Newcastle University’s Centre for Urban & Regional Development Studies (CURDS).
Graham Thrower says: “I knew of NEL’s work through previous North East roles and recognised the importance of its investments in encouraging and facilitating business growth and employment opportunities around the region.
“It’s essential that North East SMEs have access to a business support ‘ecosystem’ of professional service advisors, angel investors and fund managers like NEL that are based here and have a firsthand knowledge of how the business community operates.
“NEL has been part of this community for almost three decades, investing successfully in growing businesses through multiple economic cycles, and my experience of working with corporate finance and fund management firms around the world will hopefully enhance what it is able to achieve in the future.”
Originally founded in 1989, NEL Fund Managers is North East England’s most active business investor and most recently made 146 investments worth a total of £30m from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund over a seven year period.
It is now responsible for investing two of the five funds that make up the new £120m North East Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund – the £18m North East Growth Capital Fund and the £9m North East Small Loan Fund.
Dr Yvonne Gale, chief executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Graham has an unrivalled track record of business service and success, and is fully committed to supporting the sustainable development of the North East economy.
“Having direct access to his experience and expertise will be hugely beneficial to our investment team’s work around the region and we’re extremely pleased to be welcoming him into his new role.”
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.