NEL Fund Managers has appointed a new chief executive as Barrie Hensby steps down following a 25 year stint at the helm.
Dr Yvonne Gale, who has been with the regional fund management firm for 13 years, has stepped into the top role, with Mr Hensby taking on the position of chairman.
Dr Gale, who was previously the firm’s operations director, holds both a Masters and a Doctorate in Business Administration from Northumbria University.
She is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) and holds the Institute of Directors’ Certificate and Diploma in Company Direction, for which she studied at Durham University.
Prior to joining NEL in 2003, she worked in financial management roles for a range of well-known businesses, including Newcastle Arena, Scotts Hotels, The Officers Club and Unitech Open Systems Ltd.
Dr Gale has served as a board director for both NEL and a number of its investee companies, focusing on their strategy, delivery and resourcing, as a member of NEL’s investment and portfolio committees, which she now chairs.
“NEL has been at the heart of the North East business community for more than a quarter of a century, and our investments have helped to create and sustain many thousands of regional jobs across hundreds of companies,” she said.
“Taking on the mantel of leading the NEL team into a new era is an exciting challenge for me, and the expertise that they make available locally is invaluable in helping companies achieve their commercial objectives.
“The flow of enquiries from North East businesses looking to implement development plans with our investment support remains strong, and we’re actively looking to invest around £3m during 2015 in these sorts of ambitious firms.
“Barrie will be a hard act to follow, but he’ll continue to be closely involved with the business and his unrivalled knowledge of the North East’s investment culture will still be readily at hand.”
NEL is the North East’s most active business investors, putting more than £92m into companies across the region since its establishment in 1989.
Many of these businesses have gone on to achieve national and international success.
Over the last five years, NEL has been responsible for the management of the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund, and has fully invested the £23m available through it in 85 North East companies.
Mr Hensby said: “The North East economy has changed out of all recognition in the 25 years that I’ve been at the NEL helm, and there’s still a huge amount of potential to be realised.
“It’s pleasing to look back at the successes we’ve enjoyed over the years, both from our own point of view and that of the many investees that have achieved great things, and to now be part of a confident, outward-looking region that can look to compete with rivals anywhere in the world.”