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New SEEDA Chairman announced

9 July 2009

SEEDA is delighted to welcome Rob Douglas CBE as the organisation's new Chairman.

Economic Development Minister Rosie Winterton announced the three year appointment today. Rob Douglas will take over from current SEEDA Chairman Jim Brathwaite CBE, who will have been in post for seven years at the end of this year. Rob begins a handover period on 1 September, taking over formally on 2 November.

Rob Douglas is a business consultant who will bring extensive international business experience to SEEDA. He was previously a senior executive with Royal Dutch Shell, where his roles included Area Co-ordinator, China and East Asia; Chief Executive, Shell Belgium; Chief Executive, Shell Italy; and Vice President for Mergers and Acquisitions in the Global Exploration and Development Business.

He also has previous experience of SEEDA, serving as a Board Member from 2001 and Deputy Chair from 2003-2007.

Rob Douglas said: "I am excited to be rejoining SEEDA at this critical time for the South East economy and I relish the opportunity to lead SEEDA through the challenging times ahead. My top priority will be to help businesses through the recession and make sure they are well-placed to take advantage of new opportunities when the economy recovers."

Outgoing SEEDA Chairman, Jim Brathwaite, said: "I am proud to be passing over the reins of an organisation that has consistently met its objectives and delivered real value to the South East. Many challenges lie ahead in bringing the South East out of recession and restoring the business optimism and growth that contributes so much to prosperity and quality of life in our region.

"I am absolutely delighted to be handing over my Chairmanship to Rob, who will bring a wealth of private sector corporate and international experience to SEEDA. He is exceptionally well placed to lead the agency successfully through a major transformation and achieve our vision of being the best economic development agency a top global region could have.

"I worked very closely with Rob during his time as a SEEDA Board Member and then as my Deputy Chair and I have every confidence in his chairmanship to deliver the best for the region and SEEDA."

South East Regional Minister Jonathan Shaw said: “I welcome Rob Douglas' appointment as the new SEEDA Chairman and look forward to working with him.

"Rob's expertise will be an asset to SEEDA and his experience within the Agency will provide vital continuity.

"Outgoing Chairman Jim Brathwaite showed outstanding commitment to the board, championing South East businesses through challenging economic times. His contribution is sincerely valued."

For media enquiries, please contact:

Heather Bolton, Communications Director, SEEDA
Tel: 01483 501398
Email: heatherbolton@seeda.co.uk

Jessica Stewart, Media Relations Manager, SEEDA
Tel: 01483 501307
Email: jessicastewart@seeda.co.uk

View full media release here.

Biography: Rob Douglas CBE

Rob is a business consultant with wide experience in both the public and private sectors.

Prior to his consultancy, Rob was a senior executive with Royal Dutch Shell where he held a number of senior general management positions, including Area Co-ordinator, China and East Asia; Chief Executive, Shell Belgium; Chief Executive, Shell Italy; and Vice President for Mergers and Acquisitions in the Global Exploration and Development Business. Rob had initially joined Shell from the Inland Revenue and had held a number of senior tax posts, including Shell UK Tax Manager, and Head of International Taxation, based in the Hague.

Rob has combined his consultancy activities with a number of non-executive roles in both the public and private sectors. He is currently a Board Member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and a Governor of CILT, the National Centre for Languages. He was Chair of the Surrey Learning and Skills Council from 2000 to 2007 and remains a member of the LSC South East Regional Council. He was non-executive Director of SEEDA from 2001 to 2007, becoming a Deputy Chair in 2003. Since 2004 he has been on various advisory boards at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and its predecessor bodies, DTI and BERR.

Rob comes from Newcastle upon Tyne and was educated at Churchill College, Cambridge.

He is married to Hilary and they have two adult sons. He is a Fellow of the RSA and was made a CBE in the 2005 Birthday Honours.

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