Sunderland’s Business Improvement District’s (Bid) board has a new man at the helm, following an extraordinary meeting.
John Craggs, deputy chief executive at Gentoo and an existing board member, has taken over the leading role from Andy Bradley, centre director of the city’s Bridges Shopping Centre.
Mr Craggs was unanimously elected by the 18-strong board, which draws its members from across Sunderland’s business community and the public sector.
Born and bred in Sunderland, Mr Craggs will be using his extensive experience and knowledge of the area to support the Bid’s activities, aimed at driving more footfall and making the city a cleaner and safer place to shop and do business.
“I’m thrilled to be taking on this role at this important time in both the Bid company’s development and Sunderland city’s revitalisation,” he said.
“I have a keen interest in the city developing and want to see it grow to become more vibrant and economically successful.”
Mr Craggs takes over from Andy Bradley, who has been a driving force behind the Bid since its inception and has played a key role in determining how the organisation operates.
“I’m very proud of what we have achieved as a Bid team since it was conceived more than two and a half years ago,” said Mr Bradley.
“The Bid has got off to a great start, is in great hands and with the appointment of John Craggs as the new chair, I am confident that the Bid goes from strength to strength as it moves into the next phase of its development.”
More than £3.4m will be invested in Sunderland over the next five years through the Bid, using money collected as a levy to help promote the city centre and to make it a cleaner, safer and greener place to be.
Chief executive Ken Dunbar welcomed Mr Craggs but also paid tribute to Mr Bradley in the part he played in getting the Bid off the ground.
“I’d like to welcome John as the new chair of Sunderland Bid and pay tribute to the outgoing chairman, Andy Bradley, for the drive and enthusiasm he has shown since the Bid’s inception and as the Bid’s first chair.
“There is a huge programme of work ahead it is great to know that we have a new Chairman who has a passion for the city and a detailed understanding of the way it works and the extensive list of partners involved.”
Gary Hutchinson, commercial director of SAFC and chairman of Sunderland Business Group, which helped bring the Bid to Sunderland, said he was delighted at the new appointment but also paid tribute to the support given by Andy.
“The Bid is in a good position to consolidate its achievements and make further progress, delivering the activities and projects that will help to take the city on its improvement journey,” he said.
“We have created a strong board and I’m confident that John will be a worthy successor to Andy.”