Lord Jim O’Neill announced as new NPP Chair


Lord Jim O’Neill has been announced as the new Chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP), the business-led think tank and advocacy group based in the North of England.  

He will serve one fixed three-year term as part of a new approach to strengthen governance processes.

O’Neill is a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords as well as the current Chair of Northern Gritstone, an investment business focused on start-ups in the North of England, and a founding trustee of educational charity SHINE.

In 2014 he chaired the City Growth Commission before being appointed Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, where he was a leading proponent of the original Northern Powerhouse vision.

His work has focused on how to tackle the productivity gap and grow the North’s economy. He recently led a review into the growth of start-up businesses for the Shadow Chancellor. 

Supporting the new Chair in his role will be an executive committee made up of Professor Juergen Maier CBE, former CEO of Siemens UK, Jessica Bowles, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Impactat Northern property development company Bruntwood, as well as NPP’s Chief Executive Henri Murison and Deputy Chief Executive Sarah Mulholland.

Osborne will remain at the NPP, an organisation he founded when he left office in 2016, in his role as President.

NPP fosters collaboration between industry and civic leaders, as well as experts in areas such as education and culture, including former Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield CBE and Northern School of Dance CEO Sharon Watson MBE.

NPP’s board is made up of senior figures who share a commitment to drive up northern productivity and rebalance the UK economy, including Manchester City Council Leader Bev Craig, Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe, Lancashire County Council Leader Phillippa Williamson  and Lord Patrick McLoughlin, Chair of Transport of the North.

The organisation also has four honorary presidents; Baroness Judith Blake CBE, Sir Richard Leese CBE, Sean Anstee CBE, and Kevin Hollinrake MP.

NPP’s business network spans a range of sectors, including energy, construction, technology, construction and financial services. Partners include Addleshaw Goddard, Arcadis, Arup, Associated British Ports, Atkins, Bruntwood, Drax, HSBC UK, Mace, Manchester Airport Group, Mott Macdonald, Rolls-Royce SMR, the Royal Navy, Sage, Sellafield, Siemens, TalkTalk, Virgin Money and EY as sponsor. 

NPP’s stated mission is to close the north-south divide in wages, drive the path to net zero through the creation of more green jobs and promote the north as a place to work, study and live.

This will be achieved through investment in education, skills, transport and digital connectivity as well as empowered local leadership, while developing our existing economic strengths in manufacturing, health innovation, digital and green energy.

Lord Jim O’Neill, Chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “The mission to close the North-South divide is hugely important to me.

“When we designed the original Northern Powerhouse economic project in Treasury nearly a decade ago, we wanted to boost productivity, drive up wages and unlock more opportunity for people living in the North of England.

“There are signs that our work is starting to have an effect in some areas but much more is needed, both from the public and private sector, in order to unleash the North’s true economic potential.

“I would like to say thank you to all our members and to our board for their continued support over the years.”

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