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Paul Butler, CEO

Paul Butler, an experienced cluster practitioner, joined the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) as Chief Executive Officer in March 2015.

Prior to his appointment, Paul spent almost a decade on the management team of the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC), one of Europe’s most successful clusters. Paul is also the only UK based Cluster Benchmarking Expert for the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA), who are mandated by the EU to support the creation of more world-class clusters across the EU.

He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Durham, where his dissertation was The Role of SMEs in Clusters.


Eddie Leng, Project Manager

Eddie Leng, an organisational training and development practitioner, joined the NEAA in May 2015 as Project Manager.

Prior to his appointment Eddie worked with both the 1st tier automotive supply chain and wider SME engineering/ manufacturing base, delivering effective training and development solutions. He was a key member of the North East Productivity Alliance and previously worked for the sector skills council SEMTA.

With over 30 years’ experience including Worldwide Benchmarking studies, Eddie was made an Honorary Fellow of Sunderland University in 2004 for services to Business and lifelong learning.


Stuart McGivern, Project Manager

Stuart McGivern is an experienced procurement and process improvement practitioner who has worked extensively in the North East in the application and knowledge transfer of continuous improvement.

Stuart spent 15 years working in procurement and supplier management for Nissan, and then completed training with SMMT industry forum with the North East Productivity Alliance based in the Regional Development Agency. He then transferred to the MAS organisation in 2008 and spent 3 years at PA Consulting as a member of the leadership team heading up Operational Excellence.

Prior to joining the NEAA in May 2015, Stuart ran his own business, Key Performance Innovations, which provided tailored and innovative productivity solutions.


Laura Gage, Marketing Manager

Laura Gage joined the NEAA in May 2015 as Marketing & PR Manager and is tasked with the management and delivery of NEAA’s marketing and communications.

Prior to joining NEAA, Laura worked at Corus, before moving into the subsea oil & gas sector, where she worked as Marketing Manager at DeepOcean, IHC Engineering Business and most recently Reef Subsea.

Laura has over 10 years’ experience in business-to-business marketing and holds a BA Hons in Marketing Management from Northumbria University.


Deborah Fletcher, Office Assistant

Deborah joined the NEAA as Office Assistant in April 2015. Prior to her appointment, Deborah was Information Officer for Tyne and Wear Development Company where she spent 10 years as part of the team which was successful in attracting Inward Investment worth millions of pounds to region, as well as creating thousands of jobs.