The Business Board comprises a fantastic team of industry executives and key opinion leaders not only within our region but also with national and international networks, interests and focus. We have representatives from key sectors of our economy including life sciences and healthcare, agri-tech and agri-food and advanced manufacturing. We also have strong academic expertise. We ensire that a clear business perspective is brought forward as the Combined Authority seeks to be at the frontier of accelerating delivery and securing new investment models, with and across Government, the private sector and the local area.


AUSTEN ADAMS Business Board Chair

Austen Adams has accumulated 30 years’ experience in managing profitable engineering companies across the world.

Having started his career as an engineering apprentice in the industrial heart of the UK, the Black Country, he has transcended all levels of management. An advocate of modern management practices, he trained with Textron Inc. in the US as a global business trouble shooter before going on to hold a number of senior executive roles in sales, operational and general management in businesses across five continents.

Sound strategic thinking, hard work, determination and teamwork underpin Austen’s reputation for getting the job done. Austen currently manages a portfolio of twelve industrial business within Avingtrans plc, two in China and ten in the UK, serving the medical and energy sectors. Two of his portfolio cornerstone businesses of Peter Brotherhood and Metalcraft are situated within the Combined Authority.

A committed and hands on supporter of local, national and international bodies holding posts in advisory board roles for the National Skills Academy Nuclear, Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, EEF and the Walsall Economic Board. Austen also provides local advisory services to SME’s in the engineering sector.

A family man with three children who enjoys the great outdoors.

ANDY NEELY Business Board Vice Chair

Professor Andy Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations, University of Cambridge, Deputy Chair of the Business Board:

Professor Andy Neely is Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations at the University of Cambridge and former Head of the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM).

He is a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College and Director of the Centre for Digital Built Britain and Founding Director of the Cambridge Service Alliance. He is widely recognised for his work on the servitization of manufacturing, as well as his work on performance measurement and management. Previously he has held appointments at Cranfield University, London Business School, Cambridge University, where he was a Fellow of Churchill College, Nottingham University, where he completed his PhD and British Aerospace.

He was Deputy Director of AIM Research – the UK’s management research initiative – from 2003 until 2012 and was elected a Fellow of the Sunningdale Institute in 2005, a Fellow of the British Academy of Management in 2007, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2008, a Fellow of the European Operations Management Association in 2009 and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2018.


Dr Barsby is CEO of NIAB, previously the National Institute of Agricultural Botany. Tina is a plant geneticist well-known for her significant experience in the agricultural crop sector. With a PhD from the University of Nottingham, she spent several years in North America before returning to the UK. After almost 20 years working for the Limagrain Group, she became CEO of NIAB in 2008.

Her strong leadership skills and supportive staff have enabled Tina to position NIAB where it is today as an internationally recognised and innovative organisation, operating under the strapline ‘Plant Science in to Practise’.

Tina is committed to the translation of plant science into products and services of value to industry and to society at large. She has lived in Stretham, near Ely for almost 30 years, and is a founder Trustee of the Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust, having previously served on the Parish Council and as a school governor.

Tina is an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Society and was awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List for services to Agricultural Sciences and Biotechnology.


Mark Dorsett is the Global HR Services Director and UK Country Director, Caterpillar Inc.

Mark is responsible for coordinating and leading the Company’s business interests, government affairs and corporate social responsibilities agenda in the United Kingdom. This complements his responsibilities as the Global HR Director for Caterpillar’s Human Resource Services. He is based in Peterborough, UK.

Having developed his early career with the ITT Group and Hagemeyer NV, Mark joined Caterpillar in 2003, and has held various senior HR roles including Vice President Global Human Resources for Caterpillar Logistics Services, a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc. He has gained global experience through international assignments in Brussels, Belgium and at Caterpillar’s Global Headquarters in Peoria IL, USA.

Mark represents Caterpillar in a number of external bodies including being a member of the UK Automotive Council. He also is a Member in the governance structure for the Thomas Deacon Educational Trust, on the board of Trustees of Oakham School and a commissioner for the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Independent Economic Review.

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.


With over two decade’s international business expertise in the private sector, Faye Holland’s executive-level experience includes developing the first marketing communications strategies for the UK’s first Internet Service Provider, worldwide technology project communications roles in IBM, and managing the European and Asia Pacific operations of a global media company. In 2015, she founded Cofinitive, a multi-award-winning growth business recognised as one of the region’s top 10 image makers. Located in East Cambs, Cofinitive helps clients across various emerging sectors (including Creative, ICT and AgriTech) communicate to their employees, stakeholders, clients and communities.

Faye chairs the Cambridge & South Cambs Committee of the Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce. She also co-founded and runs Impact Women’s Network and is the regional champion for EngageEast.


Professor Aamir Khalid is the Chief Executive of The Welding Institute (TWI Ltd).

Aamir is responsible for The Structural Integrity Research Foundation (SIRF) and the National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC). This is a 10 year, £150m, industrially sponsored project by TWI, Lloyds Register Foundation (LRF) and BP. Other research sponsors include HEFCE, RGF and Brunel University. The Centre has the aim of sponsoring 330 PhDs and 220 MScs in Structural Integrity and carrying out R&D on behalf of TWI, BP and LRF in the field of structural integrity.

Director responsible for TWI’s public and collaborative funding office. In the past 5 years; TWI has won and managed over £500m of R&D funding on behalf of its members from various public funding sources eg H2020, InnovateUK, RGF, ERDF, HEFCE etc.

Director responsible for TWI’s product company called Plant Integrity Ltd. This is a £6m turnover company that sells products that emerge from TWI’s R&D.

Associate Professor, Brunel University London. Expertise in application of robots to non-destructive testing.

Aamir is the Business Board member with specific responsibility for SMEs.


Al Kingsley is a passionate believer in the exciting possibilities of educational technology. He is the Group Managing director of NetSupport, who develop software solutions that support the use of technology in classrooms alongside eSafety tech to safeguard students online.

He chairs a Multi-Academy trust, has worked on delivery of new Free Schools, sits on the Head Teacher board for the Regional Schools Commissioner and is a regional Apprenticeship Ambassador for businesses across the East of England.


Director of HR Your Business Matters Ltd since 2014, Nicki Mawby provides local businesses with people support services including HR and Recruitment as well as a range of Training Services that allow business owners to further drive performance by ensuring they have the right people in the right place at the right time, with the right knowledge, skills and behaviours.

Nicki is an active member of the CIPD and also the founding member of HR: Connect Over Coffee, a monthly CPD and networking event for HR professionals. Events are held locally and provide a learning environment as well as an opportunity to connect with other HR professionals, sharing knowledge, experience and resources.

Nicki is passionate about education and training. When not running her business, she teaches Level 3 and 5 CIPD at Peterborough Regional College and University Centre Peterborough. She is actively involved in various initiatives which supports new start-ups, entrepreneurs and women in business. In 2019 she was nominated for two awards at the Peterborough Small Business Awards for ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ and for ‘Best Professional Services’, winning the latter.


Jason is a scientist entrepreneur passionate about translating innovative technologies into better patient outcomes. As CEO and co-founder of Start Codon, a Cambridge based accelerator, he aims to identify and recruit the most disruptive healthcare start-ups worldwide, seed fund them and leverage the exceptional resources of the Cambridge cluster to de-risk and drive their success.

Previously he was CEO of Cambridge Epigenetix and Business Development Manager for Horizon Discovery’s diagnostics division. He also served as an associate at Cambridge Enterprise, the technology transfer office of the University of Cambridge. Jason was awarded a Marshall Scholarship and was awarded a PhD in Medicine from the University of Cambridge.


Nitin Patel is a General Management Executive and CEO with operational and commercial skills gained from several turnaround situations with Glen Dimplex, a privately-owned business based in Dublin. He has experience of working in a multinational business having worked with General Motor in various capacities, including European Powertrain Manager, leading design innovation and manufacturing excellence in the UK and internationally.

He is now an independent consultant and lecturer on business transformation, with experience of change and scale-up in global corporations up to £100bn.


Rebecca Stephens is director of her own communications consultancy, Syntax Communications, providing public relations, community engagement, and internal communications services to a wide range of clients across both private and public sectors. She is currently working with the UK’s leading alternative provider of fibre infrastructure, CityFibre, to digitally transform Peterborough and Cambridge by bringing gigabit-speed full fibre connectivity within reach of almost every home and business in the cities.

Previously she was the editor of the Peterborough Evening Telegraph and editorial director of East Midlands Newspapers, where she campaigned on community issues, launched new publications, and won industry awards.

Rebecca, who lives in Peterborough, has held several non-executive roles with 10 years at various NHS organisations, including as vice chair of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG; as well as Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Probation Trust and as an Independent Member of Police Misconduct Panels.


Kelly Swingler has more than 20 years experience in HR and people development Kelly started Chrysalis in 2014 to help, support and develop top performing HR teams who are demanding change in the workplace, HR professionals who want to make a difference, HR professionals who want to challenge the status quo and change the world of work.

Kelly is passionate about the wellbeing, development and empowerment of HR professionals. She has led HR teams from between 5 to 40 during her career with retailers Waitrose and John Lewis before moving to Times 100 and IiP Ambassador Luminus Group and then award winning Genesis. She has worked in a range of sectors with varying strategic and operational people and HR requirements.


James Palmer is the Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and one of the two public servants on the Business Board who do not have any voting rights.

Key areas of responsibility:

  • Leadership of the Combined Authority
  • Overarching responsibility for developing and implementing the strategic direction of the Combined Authority and its policies, strategies and effective governance
  • Engagement with Government Ministers and Departments
  • Public sector reform
  • Ambassador for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough to secure inward investment
  • Future devolution deals including securing new powers and associated budget responsibilities for the Combined Authority
  • The Mayor also holds the portfolio for New Homes and Communities.


Cllr John Holdich is Leader of Peterborough City Council, Deputy Mayor (constitutional) & Portfolio Holder for Skills and Chair of the Skills Committee.

Key areas of responsibility include:

  • Skills Strategy: Employer focused skills system
  • Peterborough University
  • Apprenticeships and Pathways to Employment Scheme
  • Adult Education Devolution
  • Education Committee and coordination lead with Regional Schools Commissioner
  • Coordination with the Department for Education on the Opportunity Area programme
  • Centre for Skills (in conjunction with the Business Board)
  • The Skills Framework and Action Plan for Adult Education
  • Coordination with DWP and the Work & Health Programme
  • Innovation Fund and the Health and Care Sector Work Academy
  • 16+ Area Review outcomes
  • Apprenticeship Grant for Employers of 16 to 24 years
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