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The NEAA is led by a strong Executive and Advisory Board, who represent the diverse nature of the automotive industry.



Chairman, NEAA

Steve Marsh, Vice President of Manufacturing at Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd (NMUK)

Steve began his career at Nissan more than 31 years ago as an apprentice. After spending two years in the maintenance team at Nissan’s Sunderland plant, he worked in various parts of the business including product operations, engineering and production.

In 2010, Steve began working for the Alliance, moving to South Africa for two years. Following this, he spent three years in Northern France working with Renault, before moving to Mississippi in the US to work at Nissan’s Canton plant in 2015.

Now in his role at VP of Manufacturing, Steve oversees the plant’s entire operation, from strategic planning to liaising with global functions, and coordinating with supply chains and design teams on all elements of Nissan vehicles.

During his role as Chairman at the NEAA, Steve will play a major role in strategy development and setting targets for the alliance, whilst also sitting on the Executive Board.

Vice Chairman, NEAA

Mike Matthews MBE, Former Europe Operations & Managing Director, Nifco UK

Former Nifco Europe Operations Officer & Managing Director of Nifco UK Mike was brought up on a council estate in Darlington, and has made his way from the shop-floor to the helm of one of the North East’s leading manufacturing businesses. Mike is a hugely respected businessman, something that was recognised when he was named North East Business Executive of the Year by The Journal and Gazette in 2013.

A toolmaker by trade, Mike was appointed to his most recent position of Managing Director at Nifco UK in 2008, making him the only non-Japanese member of Nifco’s international board. He took on European responsibilities in 2012. A position he resigned from in 2019.

Mike remains an active member of the business community. He has worked very closely with SEMTA, the organisation responsible for skills for the future of the UK's most advanced sectors; as well as playing a role in the development of the North East Skills Alliance for Advanced Manufacturing, a collective of champion employers, 12 local authorities, SEMTA, business membership organisations, training providers and the National Apprenticeship Service; he became Vice President of the North East Chamber of Commerce in 2014 and stepped up to his current President role in June 2015. Mike also collaborates and supports many other initiatives from Stockton Borough Council and Tees Valley Unlimited, the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Executive Directors

  • Steve Marsh, VP Manufacturing, Nissan Manufacturing (UK) & NEAA Chairman
  • Paul Butler, CEO, NEAA
  • Martin Porton, Operations Director, RTC North & NEAA Company Secretary
  • Mike Mathews MBE, Former Managing Director, Nifco UK & NEAA Vice Chair
  • Patrick Melia, Chief Executive, Sunderland City Council
  • Matt Boyle, Independant Director & Chair of Skills Group
  • Peter Howe, Executive Chairman, Komatsu UK
  • Peter Watson, Deputy Managing Director - Plant Manager, Kasai UK
  • Stephen Irish, Commercial Managing Director, Hyperdrive Innovation

Advisory Board

  • Chris Willoughby, Plant Manager, Cummins UK
  • Colin Herron, Managing Director, Zero Carbon Futures
  • David Brander, Plant Director, SNOP
  • David Cann, General Manager UK, Mecaplast Group
  • David Land, Director, Drive2Business
  • Eddie Leng, Project Manager, NEAA
  • Gerry Ingleby, General Manager, Unipres (UK)
  • Glen Pearson, Managing Director, Elring Klinger (GB)
  • Jim Casey, Operations Director, Lear Corporation
  • John Barnett, Operations Director, Calsonic Kansei
  • John Hickling, Senior VP - Purchasing & SCM, Calsonic Kansei
  • Laura Gage, Marketing & PR Manager, NEAA
  • Matt Kirk, General Manager, Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems
  • Paul Blanchard, Managing Director, Komatsu UK
  • Peter Gallone, Plant Director, Gestamp Tallent
  • Raymond Tate, Plant Manager, Adient
  • Robin Finley, Plant Manager, ZF-TRW
  • Rohan Kohli, Graduate Manager, NEAA
  • Stuart McGivern, Project Manager, NEAA
  • Thomas Frater, Policy Team Leader (North East) - Cities & Local Growth Unit, BEIS and DCLG
  • Tim Jayes, Managing Director, GT Group
  • Tom Hurst, Chief Investment Officer, Sunderland City Council
  • Wayne Turnbull, Purchasing & Projects Manager, Faltec Europe