Group Board


Richard Topliss        
Board Members
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Jane Boardman
Paul Dennett Vanda Murray OBE Emma Sheldon MBE Mike Blackburn

Elise GC Board Member
Cllr Arooj Shah Cllr Leanne Feeley Cllr Martyn Cox Cllr Elise Wilson

Advisory Board

The Growth Company Board is supported by three Advisory Boards with external membership drawn from or approved by The Growth Company Board. The Advisory Boards cover the three main business areas of the organisation:

  • Workforce Development;
    • Richard Topliss (Chairman) - Chairman of the North Regional Board at NatWest
    • Mark Hughes, Group Chief Executive, The Growth Company
    • Angela Harrington, Head of Work & Skills, Manchester City Council
    • Jane Hopcroft, Principal, Connell Sixth Form College
    • Janet Wilkinson, Director of Workforce, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership
    • Philip Robinson, Group HR Director, Renold
    • Jennifer Woods - Consultant
    • Cllr Arooj Shah - Leader of Oldham Council & Cabinet Member for Economic and Social Reform
  • Business Support and Business Finance;
    • Vanda Murray, (Chair), Manchester Airports Group
    • Michael Hartig, Head of Northern Region, Barclays Corporate Banking
    • Phil Jones, Managing Director, Brother UK Limited
    • Emma Sheldon, GC Board & Healthcare UK
    • Tom Stannard, Chief Executive, Salford City Council
    • Jonathan Lawson, Director Strategic Partnerships, Faculty of Business, Law & Apprenticeships, Manchester Metropolitan University

  • Internationalisation and Marketing.
    • Mike Blackburn (Chair)
    • Joanne Roney, Chief Exec, Manchester City Council 
    • Alice Choi, Chief Operating Officer, McCann Health Medical Communications and Executive Director, McCann Health Scientific Council
    • Shaun Hinds, Chief Exec, Manchester Central 
    • Adrian Ellis, General Manager, The Lowry Hotel 
    • Professor Jenny Watling, Pro-Vice-Chancellor International, Manchester Metropolitan University
    • Lou Cordwell, Founder and CEO, MagneticNorth
    • Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at The University of Manchester 
    • Jim Taylor, Chief Executive, Salford City Council
    • Nicky Unsworth, CEO, The BJL Group
    • Richard Carter, Head UK/Ireland, BASF
    • Andrew Cowan, Chief Exec, Manchester Airport
    • Cllr Dylan Butt, Shadow Exec Member for Environment, Air Quality and Climate Change and Opposition Spokesperson for Licensing Committee, Trafford Council
    • Mark Hughes, Group Chief Executive, the Growth Company 

Subsidiary Board

There are four subsidiary Boards which retain legal, compliance and other responsibilities for their respective legal entities:

  • The Enterprise Fund Ltd (trading as Business Finance Solutions);
  • Chamberlink Ltd (trading as Business Support Solutions);
  • Challenge 4 Change;
  • Marketing Manchester;


In addition, the Group Board has two sub-committees:

  • Audit;
  • Remuneration.