Leading figures from North East business world receive New Year's honours

Entrepreneurs honoured for their contribution to business community in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham

Dr Robert Hardy of Aesica
Dr Robert Hardy of Aesica

Leading figures from the world of North East business have been included in the New Year’s Honours list.

Among them is Dr Robert Hardy, the man behind the multi-million pound pharmaceutical manufacturer Aesica, who has been given an OBE for services to the pharmaceutical and chemical industry.

Aesica, which is based in Newcastle with a manufacturing facility in Cramlington, this year marked its tenth anniversary by unveiling a tenfold increase in its workforce and turnover over the last decade. In September it was announced that the firm was to be acquired by Consort Medical plc in a deal worth £230m.

Dr Hardy said: “It is a privilege to receive such an honour. The OBE represents a culmination of many years of hard work and dedication from the team at Aesica to establish and grow a global pharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing company from right here in the UK.

“I would like to thank the great team we have at Aesica with particular thanks and recognition to those in the North East where I have worked for nearly 20 years.”

Also in the pharmaceutical industry, George Ritchie, who retired as senior vice president for HR at Middlesbrough-based Sembcorp in October, is awarded an MBE for services to apprenticeships.

The 67 year-old, who spent almost 50 years in the process industry, said: “I am deeply honoured to have received this award. I have had a challenging, varied and wonderful career and worked with some tremendous people.

“I have always believed in the importance of skills development and high quality training in driving businesses and individuals forward and believe the willingness of employers to train and mentor apprentices will be key to the future of the process industries in the years to come.”

North East care home entrepreneur Helen McArdle will receive a CBE for services to the Care Home Business and the community in the North East of England.

Helen, who founded Helen McArdle Care in 1989, leads a Gateshead-based group which manages 17 care homes across the region.

Helen, who founded the business with her husband Michael and their four children, has been named a CBE for her services to industry and the community.

Helen said: “This is totally unexpected; the North East is a great place to have a business and I am humbled and proud to receive this honour alongside so many inspirational people.

I would like to thank my family, friends and wonderful staff team who have helped me to achieve this.”

Also honoured are Alan Ferguson, chairman and chief executive of Northumberland-based Fergusons Transport, who receives an OBE for services to business in the North East, and John Reece, chairman of the Reece Group in Newcastle, who is awarded an MBE for services to engineering, manufacturing and innovation.

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