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industry news

1 Jun 2017



  • Iain Wright named as NEPIC CEO, succeeding Dr. Stan Higgins, who is retiring. Wright will report to Chairman, Ian Swales, and NEPIC’s Board of Directors.
  • Wright served as a prominent Labour MP 2004-2017 and Chair of the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Select Committee 2015-2017.
  • Wright, together with Ian Swales, will focus on representing member firms, championing the region’s process industries and identifying growth opportunities.

Wilton, UK. June 01, 2017. The Board of NEPIC is pleased to confirm that it has selected Iain Wright to be the new Chief Executive for the organisation.

Iain, 45, served as a prominent Labour MP for Hartlepool over the past 13 years and was most recently Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee.

Iain was Minister for Housing and Planning between 2007 and 2009 and Minister for Schools and Apprenticeships in 2009-10. He served as Shadow Minister for Industry between 2011 and 2015. Prior to being elected as MP for Hartlepool in 2004, he worked at One NorthEast, the regional development agency. He began his career as a chartered accountant with Deloitte.

Together with Ian Swales and the Board of Directors, Iain will focus on representing member firms, championing the region’s process industries and identifying growth opportunities.

NEPIC’s Chairman, Ian Swales, said:

“I am delighted that Iain has agreed to join NEPIC. He is well known for his passion for industry and passion for the North East region and I’m sure he will do an outstanding job. Iain’s decision to join NEPIC shows the huge importance of the process industries in the region and I look forward to the sector getting even stronger in the future.”

Starting in June, Iain will work alongside outgoing chief executive, Dr. Stan Higgins, during the summer as they coordinate a smooth and effective handover.
This appointment comes after a five-month search led by NEPIC’s board, along with members of its Industrial Leadership Team.

On being appointed, Iain said:

“I am really proud and honoured to have been appointed Chief Executive. Under Stan’s excellent leadership, NEPIC is a powerful organisation, representing firms in the North East’s biggest industrial sector and working with them to create jobs and prosperity for our region. Stan will be a tough act to follow, but I am determined to work hard with companies to champion this vital sector and our great region.

Iain continued:

“Future economic success for the North East will be based upon science, innovation, skills and a nimble and competitive manufacturing base. With great co-ordination and collaboration across industry, we can unlock still further the enormous potential of this sector in our region, ensuring that the North East of England can be seen across the world as the place to invest in chemicals, science and pharmaceuticals, and for firms in the region to export their excellent goods and services around the globe”.

Outgoing chief executive, Dr. Stan Higgins, added:

“It’s reassuring that such an outstanding candidate has taken over this important leadership role. I believe Iain’s national business and industry experience will help NEPIC’s members and the sector into the future.”

Ian Swales and the Board of Directors thanked Stan for his significant contributions to the company and chemical-processing sector in North East England.
Formed in 2004, NEPIC is a membership cluster organisation working with the chemical-using industries in the North East of England.

Together with member companies, the firm work to build upon the already powerful industrial base located here and make this region one of the most competitive and successful chemical-processing locations in Europe.

Privately-owned and led by industry, NEPIC supports cluster members to become successful and sustainable organisations in a collaborative business environment that helps them to grow.


NEPIC, the North East Process Industry Cluster, is a membership organisation that represents the broad range of inter-related chemistry using industries in North East England. The Cluster works with its member companies to provide a more collaborative environment and ultimately support the long-term sustainable growth of the sector.

This is a globally significant region for the process industry as there are more than 1,400 companies directly involved or in the supply chain of these sectors, generating £26 billion of annual sales, who employ 190,000 people and export £12 billion each year. This is the North East’s largest industrial sector and vital to the future of the Northeast economy.

The Cluster’s activities and interactions include: investment growth; skills & education; innovation; communications & marketing; supply chain development; improved connectivity; SME participation growth & increased international awareness.

For more information visit or contact Louise Gwynne-Jones, PR & Communications Manager, via or call 01642 442 569 / 07808 029 967

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© Copyright. North East of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) 2015