Executive Recruitment

Senior Management Team

Tees Valley Combined Authority is supported by a team of experts in all aspects of economic development.

Shona Duncan, Head of Skills, Education and Employment

An experienced public sector manager, Shona previously worked for North Tyneside Council’s Children’s Services Department, where she had responsibility for developing and managing the Council’s response to Education, Skills and Employment. She managed the Tyne and Wear City Region Employment Consortium and has been involved in running European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF) programmes.

Originally from the North of Scotland, Shona is married with two grown up children. She studied Economic Geography at the University of Aberdeen, before starting her career in Human Resources within the private sector.

She feels passionately that there is more we can do to create greater access to opportunities for those that find the labour market challenging.

Linda Edworthy, Strategy Director

Linda is responsible for the management of the Strategy and Intelligence function, including strategic policy development, Tees Valley Strategic Economic Plan and the governance, scrutiny, office management, communications and marketing.

Linda, who holds an MBA, has worked in economic development for more than 30 years, with much of her career focusing on the development of public private partnerships.   As a qualified planner she has been involved in the development of physical master-planning and project development.

Linda was Chair of the Chief Economic Development Officer’s Society (CEDOS) between November 2006 and November 2008 and has been the CEDOS Advisor for the North East since 2003.

Alison Fellows, Investment Director

Alison is a former commercial lawyer, and an experienced senior executive with significant achievements in both the private and public sectors. She joined the Combined Authority from Sunderland City Council, where she had been specifically recruited for her public and private sector commercial, procurement and contract management expertise.

She was formerly Head of Major Projects and then Assistant Director of Capital Investment at Newcastle City Council, Acting Director of Newcastle Science City, and was previously a Partner at North East law firm Dickinson Dees.

A native of the Tees Valley, Alison was educated at Eston Grammar School, Teesside High School and Prior Pursglove College, before studying law at Cambridge University, prior to qualifying as a solicitor with a London firm.

Julie Gilhespie, Interim Managing Director

Julie took up the role as Interim Managing Director of the Tees Valley Combined Authority in May 2018. Before this, Julie was the Finance Director for the Tees Valley Combined Authority and South Tees Development Corporation, overseeing the complex financial arrangements necessary to make a success of devolution and the economic transformation of the Tees Valley.

An experienced commercial chartered accountant, Julie undertakes important statutory responsibilities to ensure the efficient and transparent use of new funding available to the area.

Previous to her role, Julie worked for Learning Curve Group Limited where she was Group Finance Director and also held a director’s role in Deloitte’s national public sector infrastructure team for more than 10 years. She brings many years’ experience in the public and private sector, particularly working on major public-private infrastructure projects for schools and hospitals.

Neil Kenley, Business Director

A former marine engineer with the Royal Navy, Neil has 20 years senior management experience in the chemical, energy and utilities sector.  This gave him significant experience of operations, restructuring, change management and inward investment and working with both private and public sector partners.

Neil joined in 2005.  His current responsibilities include the stimulation and management of all inward investment enquiries, supporting the growth of existing indigenous business, leading on major projects of strategic importance and managing relationships with public and private sector partners.

Neil sits on a number of boards including the Carbon Capture & Storage Association and the Industry Nature Conservation Association.

Neal Smith, Head of Communications & Marketing

Neal leads on marketing and communications for both the Tees Valley Combined Authority and the South Tees Development Corporation.

Neal is an accredited PR practitioner who has worked in corporate communications and marketing roles within the public and private sector, including as Head of Communications for train operators Virgin Trains and East Coast.

A former national and regional journalist, Neal is also a media trainer and a coach in Neuro Linguistic Programming.

Linda Tuttiett, Head of Culture and Tourism

Linda has experience working at a senior level in tourism, within the UK and promoting Britain’s culture and heritage internationally. Before moving to the Combined Authority she was Chief Executive of Hadrian’s Wall Trust, where she had responsibility for the protection, conservation and development of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site and related local economic, social and cultural development.

She was Director of External Relations for Arts Council England in the North East and was Head of England Marketing at Visit Britain, where she set up the England Marketing Division, following several roles managing Britain’s key international markets.

Linda believes that cultural opportunity and engagement can transform lives and bring places to the attention of the world.

Martin Waters, Head of Finance, Resources and Housing

Martin leads on the Combined Authority’s ambitious plans for investment in housing growth and renewal.  His responsibilities include leading on housing and regeneration, including the establishment of a Land Commission, Mayoral Development Corporation powers and the devolution of housing funding.

A professionally qualified accountant, Martin has extensive senior management and Board level experience, including as Project Director for the creation of the Homes & Communities Agency and senior lead on transformation and change for English Partnerships.

Mark Wilson, Head of Transport

Mark is the Head of Transport for Tees Valley Combined Authority.

A Town and Country planning graduate, Mark started his career at Newcastle City Council, ending his time there as Manager of the Tyne and Wear Local Transport Plan team. Mark subsequently moved from Tyne and Wear to become Transport Policy Manager at the Regional Development Agency; One North East and is a former head of Transport for the North East Combined Authority.

In his current role Mark is responsible for the Combined Authority’s Strategic Transport Plan and leads on issues such as road, rail, aviation and ports policy. He is the Combined Authority’s representative on the Transport for the North Programme Board.