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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 ensure 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 servitisation 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.


Mike Herd has enjoyed a long career immersed in business and technology.

Mike’s career started in the oil industry with Britoil/BP. He became a specialist in rock physics and petroleum engineering, working on North Sea exploration and field development projects. His work took him frequently offshore to supervise well-site operations. He went on to join an international consulting and software business. After many years of projects worldwide, he took on a leadership position managing a sizeable technical consulting operation. When Schlumberger acquired the consultancy, Mike took on an international business development role for the group.

In the late nineties, Mike’s career took an exciting turn as he left the oil industry to become the founding CEO of the Sussex Innovation Centre, one of the UK’s first technology business incubators. Over the next twenty years and through the success of many hundreds of supported businesses, he developed Sussex Innovation to be a national exemplar of entrepreneurial support. Unlike the many business centres that just rent office space, Mike set out to create a more proactive and dynamic support environment. He created specialist finance and market research teams to assist businesses with their new product development, investment and growth. A key differentiator for Sussex Innovation under Mike’s leadership was the commercial model that enabled it to be financially self-sustainable.

As the Centre became an integral part of Sussex’s business community, Mike led the development and delivery of many successful regional economic development and business support initiatives. He also took the lead at the University of Sussex in creating more progressive research commercialisation, student enterprise and graduate intern programmes.

Since leaving Sussex Innovation, Mike has enjoyed working as a business consultant and coach with an eclectic mix of ambitious businesses and entrepreneurs. He also runs peer-to-peer business boards as part of the Alpha Group.

Mike has won many awards for his work with entrepreneurs and businesses, culminating in the Queens’ Award for Enterprise Promotion.


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.


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.


Andy works closely with regional and national stakeholders to develop the local infrastructure, promoting the life sciences sector and inspiring the next generation of scientists through AstraZeneca’s extensive local community outreach activities.

With the arrival of AstraZeneca’s strategic R&D Centre and global head office in Cambridge, Andy has been an active contributor to evolving Cambridge’s thinking in areas like transport, skill development, community amenity, housing and digital.

Andy joined MedImmune, formerly Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT), in 1993 as a Senior Scientist and quickly took on a number of increasingly senior roles within

CAT prior to its integration into MedImmune in 2007. These included the leadership of several drug discovery and technology development projects for CAT and also responsibility for strategic management.