People on the Move: the major North-East events of the week

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A new chairman has been announced to head the Greggs Foundation, the independent grant-making charity attached to Greggs plc, Newcastle’s take-out favorite.



Joanna Dyson, new president of the Greggs Foundation

The foundation has appointed Joanna Dyson as its new president with immediate effect, succeeding Andrew Davison who is stepping down after nearly 25 years as a director.

The Greggs Foundation has been around since 1987 when it was founded by Ian Gregg, the son of the company’s founder. It aims to build stronger, healthier communities to tackle poverty, hardship and inequality and is best known for its breakfast club program in the North East and beyond.

Ms. Dyson comes from FareShare where she was until recently Food Manager. Prior to that, she worked for several large food retailers, holding senior positions in purchasing, supply chain and logistics. Ms. Dyson has also worked as a consultant to industry and as an advisor to the Department of Health, supporting their work in promoting healthy eating and fighting obesity.

She is also a director and past president of HENRY, a charity that promotes healthy childhoods. Earlier this year, Ms Dyson received an OBE for her charitable food distribution services during the Covid-19 pandemic, in recognition of the role she and FareShare have played throughout that time.

Ms. Dyson said: “I am absolutely delighted to be named President of the Foundation. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to be part of this fantastic organization which is making such a difference to so many individuals and local communities. I look forward to working with the Foundation team and the Board of Directors and building on the tremendous legacy left by Andrew Davison as he retires after many years of service as President.

Sunderland-based communications consultancy Creo Comms has appointed a new agency manager to help drive the company’s growth forward.



Laura Farley, Agency Manager at Creo Comms
Laura Farley, Agency Manager at Creo Comms

Laura Farley joins the downtown agency with over 10 years of experience in marketing communications, events, sales and people management.

After working in the marketing and communications team at Sunderland Housing Association, Gentoo, and most recently as Business Development Manager for independent hospital group Spire Healthcare, she will be responsible for the smooth running of Creo Comms and ensure the business has the right systems. and the processes in place to maintain exceptional standards of customer service and service to its clients.

She said, “I am delighted to have joined the Creo Comms team. I look forward to taking on the new challenge and working closely with the team to ensure that we deliver what we set out to do.

Stockton’s social media agency Social Allies has appointed Rich Himsworth as non-executive director and Gianni Casagrande as director of operations.



Newcomers to Social Allies: Left to right, Gianni Casagrande, COO, Jessica Tucker, CEO and Rich Himsworth, Non-Executive Director
Newcomers to Social Allies: Left to right, Gianni Casagrande, COO, Jessica Tucker, CEO and Rich Himsworth, Non-Executive Director

These appointments will allow the agency to further strengthen its offering by introducing both paid social and performance marketing services.

Mr. Himsworth, who is also CEO of leading e-commerce technology company Salesfire, said: “I am delighted to be able to share my experience and my journey with Jess and Gianni. The team’s passion and expertise go hand in hand with their ambition to become one of the North’s premier social media agencies.

Gianni Casagrande previously led Moda in Pelle’s digital marketing strategy, as well as the social performance of retailers such as Sara Davies’ Crafter’s Companion site and Futcom’s Wave Spa, her media agency.

He said: “It’s amazing to see the growth Social Allies have experienced over the past two years. Adding an element of paid social marketing and performance to the mix will be a game-changer for the company.” .

Robson Laidler Accountants in Newcastle and Durham has expanded its marketing team with the appointment of James Bray as Head of Digital Marketing.



James Bray, Director of Digital Marketing at Robson Laidler
James Bray, Director of Digital Marketing at Robson Laidler

Mr. Bray joined the firm after earning a premier degree in Entrepreneurial Business Management from the University of Northumbria and will now support the firm in its business development goals.

During his studies, Mr. Bray started his own small business, where he learned digital marketing skills on his own.

He said: “I’m excited to join the Robson Laidler team, I think I can make an impact by bringing new digital marketing ideas to the table. After hearing about Robson Laidler’s expansion goals and, more importantly, his strong values-based culture, I knew this was a rare opportunity that I wanted to be a part of.

Newcastle’s Wave Spa inflatable hot tub company has appointed seasoned retail leader Beatrice Lafon as non-executive chairman.

Ms. Lafon brings over 35 years of retail experience in Europe and the United States, having worked for leading retailers such as Marks & Spencer, J Sainsbury’s – where she launched the first transactional website of DIY to the world in 2000 – BSkyB and the Kingfisher Group, as well as such companies as River Island, Tchibo, Claire’s, TJHughes and Kondor.



Beatrice Lafon, the new non-executive chair of the Wave Spa
Beatrice Lafon, the new non-executive chair of the Wave Spa

She served as CEO for almost 20 years in the UK, Europe and the US and is known for her expertise in business turnarounds.

She said: “I am delighted that Dan and Tom, founders of Wave, have chosen me as President, following the investment from Growth Partner earlier this year. This is a dynamic team and a growing company in a most exciting category. ”

Roofing and building maintenance specialist Hodgson Sayers has appointed David Greenwood as CFO.



Hodgson Sayers has appointed David Greenwood as Chief Financial Officer.
Hodgson Sayers has appointed David Greenwood as Chief Financial Officer.

Mr. Greenwood has extensive industry knowledge, having previously worked as a Finance Manager at Diamond Group in Gateshead.

Founded in 1979, Hodgson Sayers operates nationwide from its headquarters in Stanley and a facility in Nottingham, offering specialist skills in roofing, construction, fencing and ironwork fabrication.

Mr. Greenwood said: “It is an impressive company with a great history, a solid reputation and a clear vision for the future. “


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