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Harriet Fear to chair Cambridge Ahead

Harriet Fear - new chairman of Cambridge Ahead
Harriet Fear - new chairman of Cambridge Ahead

Ian Mather remains in situ until new year

Ian Mather is stepping aside as head of Cambridge Ahead on January 1
Ian Mather is stepping aside as head of Cambridge Ahead on January 1

Harriet Fear will be the new chair of Cambridge Ahead, the business organisation dedicated to promoting sustainable growth in Cambridge.

Ms Fear, who has a background in life sciences and was until recently interim director of business & skills at the Combined Authority, will take up her post on January 1.

Harriet takes over from Ian Mather, who has chaired the organisation since April 2014.

A career diplomat for more than 20 years with the British Foreign Office, Harriet served in 17 countries in various roles including deputy ambassador, head of press and public affairs and head of commercial services. Since 2003, Harriet has worked at the heart of the Cambridge business ecosystem – as chief executive of One Nucleus (the international membership organisation for life science and healthcare) and more recently as director of business & skills (interim) for the mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough. She is a long-standing member of Cambridge Ahead and a strong advocate and champion for ‘the Case for Cambridge’ and Cambridge Ahead’s role within the CPIER.

Frontier Developments CEO David Braben is new head of transport at Cambridge Ahead. Picture: Keith Heppell
Frontier Developments CEO David Braben is new head of transport at Cambridge Ahead. Picture: Keith Heppell

Harriet commented of her appointment: “I am honoured to have become the new chair of Cambridge Ahead. I look forward enormously to working for, and with the members of Cambridge Ahead and the region. There are huge opportunities at what feels like a pivotal time across the area – with the launch of the Cambridge and Peterborough Independent Economic Review, and growth being so strong. However, I am also keenly aware of the challenges. I know that the Cambridge Ahead membership will bring its exceptional talents to bear on influencing the future direction of the region and the ambition we collectively have of achieving the highest possible quality of life for all.”

In addition to Harriet’s appointment as chair, Cambridge Ahead has also appointed a new programme director to the core team.

Lisa McLean joins Cambridge Ahead from Serco Anglian Support Partnership and brings 14 years’ experience leading challenging, diverse projects and transformation programmes across public, private and voluntary sectors. A Chartered Fellow in change management, Lisa’s energy and enthusiasm for leading change to improve thinking and performance is a superb fit with Cambridge Ahead as it steps into its next phase of development.

Lisa commented of her appointment: “I am excited about joining Cambridge Ahead and working to support the mobilisation of some very innovative, forward-thinking and important initiatives, which will have huge benefits for the community. I have been incredibly impressed by the work undertaken so far and look forward to working with the team to grow these into established, healthy programmes.”

Jane Paterson-Todd, chief executive, Cambridge Ahead added: “I am delighted to welcome Harriet and Lisa to the team. Having focused on research, analysis and reporting, Cambridge Ahead is now moving into a new phase of influence. As an organisation, we were pivotal in the supply of research to inform the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Independent Economic Review and will fully endorse the resulting recommendations. To that end we are creating a new policy group, which will be chaired by Alex Plant, director at Anglia Water. In addition, we have also introduced a new advisory group within our suite of activities, aimed specifically at those under 35. The objective of the advisory group is to ensure we capture this group’s thinking about their future and their ideas for the future of Cambridge. We will be drawing people from our membership to join this young group. Rob Carter, director, RG Carter has agreed to spearhead this group.”

Additional Chair appointments have also been confirmed across the Housing, Transport and Skills groups:

Housing: Sue Chadwick, senior associate, Planning and Environmental Team, Birketts.

Transport: David Braben, CEO & founder, Frontier Developments.

Skills: Anna McDonald, head of large corporate banking, East, Barclays. (Anna will chair the skills group as of April 2019, with Anne Bailey, co-founder, Form the Future covering the position until then).

For more information about Cambridge Ahead here.

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