The Most Influential People in the North East, 2013 - Including NETwitterati

Welcome to the sixth edition of our Most Influential series of publications - this year with a modern twist as we acknowledge the rise and rise of social media


Welcome to the sixth edition of our Most Influential series of publications – this year with a modern twist as we acknowledge the rise and rise of social media.

The North East Twitterati section should not be taken too seriously. When we launched it there were several people who were desperate to get their Twitter accounts as high up the charts as possible while others with large followings, were rather indifferent to the proposition.

There will be some who are disappointed that North East Twitterati is sectionalised rather than one definitive list in ranking order.

But we have never published the Most Influential list in that way and we think that the sections make the listing easier for reference.

The Most Influential list is again in alphabetical order – and not because it means I get on the first page!

Many people have been in this listing for all of those five years but we like to freshen things up and the North East Twitterati are not the only newcomers to the magazine.

Kevin Rowan is no longer TUC regional secretary and his place on the list has been taken up by his replacement Beth Farhat.

Nortech Solutions are expanding at a great rate of knots and their managing director Bryan Bunn is another newcomer to the list. Among the other new entries are Hilary French, head of Central High School in Newcastle and Mark Thompson, managing partner of Ryder Architecture and a board member of the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative. The private sector again dominates our list because having strong, growing businesses is the most effective way of improving the region’s economic health. However, we have also recognised the growing influence of the region’s two Local Economic Partnerships.

It will be interesting to see if their influence continues to grow in 2014 and what effect a combined authority will have on the Northern LEP – should Eric Pickles grant the formation of one that is.

When we began the Most Influential series in 2008 Barack Obama was getting the keys to the White House, the QE2 was making her final voyage and the world economy was begin to look rather shaky. Unfortunately we are not out of the economic woods yet but there are clear signs that confidence is beginning to return to the region’s businesses.

That can only be good news for employment opportunities in the region.

Take the Offshore Group Newcastle, for example. Chairman Dennis Clark was a well-deserved new entrant in 2012 and last week the company announced a new contract win that will see an additional 600 workers employed at their Hadrian Yard.

You don’t have to creat that number of jobs to get on the list –but it helps!

The aim of this publication is to identify thye movers and shakers who make the North East what it is.

The 2013 list relies on the research we have carried out annually over the past five years and by consulting with a variety of people.

We then make a lot of tough calls to decide who makes it through to the final list.

From the outset we hoped that the Most Influential would prove a talking point, not just regarding who is in and who is out, but even about what influence means, particularly in a regional context. For example, there are a great many people from outsude the region who have a powerful impact on what happens here.

Lord Adonis is not a North Easterner and is not based here but he made the list last year because he was chairing the North East Commission which reported to Government on the region’s long-term future. That work is ongoing and he retains his place because of the importance of that work. But should he be joined in the list by others who exert influence over the region even although their main place of work is elsewhere?

Whatever you think, we hope you agree that the Most Influential list is useful in pulling together the names and faces of people who can make a difference in 2014. Let us know if there are people we have missed out who are worthy of consideration next time.



David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer