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NewcastleGateshead Initiative Confirms New Chief

17th March 2011

Categories: Convention Bureau News

NewcastleGateshead Initiative has confirmed Sarah Stewart as chief executive, a role she has been performing since May 2010 when she was appointed as interim head of the organisation. 

NewcastleGateshead Initiative has been instrumental in promoting NewcastleGateshead as a leading cultural visitor destination and world-class place to live, work and study, successfully leading the twin cities’ growth in leisure and business tourism - a sector which is now worth £1.2billion to the economy.  The company is also supporting the bid for an International Conference and Exhibition Centre to be developed in NewcastleGateshead, which would significantly expand the city’s business tourism capacity, with the potential to create an additional £19m growth in the regional economy, bringing over 200,000 additional delegates to NewcastleGateshead.   

Commenting on her permanent appointment Sarah said, “I am delighted to be offered the role of chief executive, having thoroughly enjoyed working with the NewcastleGateshead Initiative team over the last ten months.

“Despite the difficult times for tourism in recent months, NewcastleGateshead Initiative is now in a very strong position, having secured continued support both from Gateshead and Newcastle Councils and from our member companies.  We also have a busy year planned for 2011. Major projects for the year ahead include maximising the huge tourism opportunities for the ‘twin cities’ from the Olympics, continued support for the International Conference Centre bid and developing a place brand for NewcastleGateshead to help further bolster our positive reputation both nationally and internationally.”

Sarah is a highly experienced marketing professional with over 25 years experience of leading public and private sector partnership initiatives, most recently as Interim Director with Newcastle Science City. She has worked with several of the UK’s best known companies including Proctor & Gamble, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, the Sage Group Plc, Greggs Plc and Shell International and has held several non-executive roles with regional organisations including the International Centre for Life, Beamish Museum Development Trust, Port of Tyne Authority, Northern Investors Company Plc and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

NewcastleGateshead Initiative chairman Jamie Martin said, “I am delighted to confirm Sarah’s appointment as permanent chief executive.  While tourism structures and funding in the region has seen significant changes in recent months, NewcastleGateshead Initiative has a clear focus on our role in promoting NewcastleGateshead as a place to work, learn, live and visit. We have started 2011 in a very strong position, with a much strengthened network of partners and supporters, which have grown from 120 to over 165 companies in just four years. And we will continue to build on these strengths, under Sarah’s leadership, to further raise the profile of NewcastleGateshead as a dynamic, cultural and vibrant destination.”

David Faulkner, Leader of Newcastle City Council said, “Sarah’s appointment will mean NewcastleGateshead Initiative will continue to successfully deliver economic and cultural benefits to our city. Sarah has done a great job over the last ten months and I look forward to continuing to work with her and NewcastleGateshead Initiative in the future.”

Leader of Gateshead Council Mick Henry said: “The importance of NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s work in attracting tourism to our twin cities is probably more important than ever. Tourism plays a major part in our economy and is a key element of our bid to be named a City for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next year. I’m very pleased to be able to continue our work with Sarah and her team to spread the word across the world about NewcastleGateshead and the great things to see and do here.”


For press information please contact:
Tina Snowball at NewcastleGateshead Initiative
0191 440 5743/ 07788 426006

Shelley Staines at NewcastleGateshead Initiative
0191 440 5739/ 07717 631109

Notes to editors

Sarah Stewart Biog Summary - A graduate of Cambridge University, Sarah has worked in a number of senior marketing roles in the region, including Proctor & Gamble, PriceWaterhouse Coopers and the Sage Group Plc, before working as an independent marketing consultant to major companies including Bank of Scotland, Greggs Plc, Newcastle Building Society and Shell International.  She has held several non-executive roles with North East organisations over the last decade, including the International Centre for Life, Beamish Museum Development Trust, Port of Tyne Authority, Northern Investors Company Plc and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. More recently, Sarah was part of the Newcastle Science City Development as Interim Director and acted as project director for the Work Wise North East campaign.

NewcastleGateshead Initiative is the destination marketing agency for NewcastleGateshead. Its mission is to position and promote NewcastleGateshead as a leading European destination for leisure and business visitors through cultural programming, event bidding and high-profile, targeted destination marketing and PR activity.  Created in 2000 by Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council as a publicly and privately funded business, the company has developed a strong brand for the area - promoting it nationally and internationally as a place at the forefront of innovative culture-led regeneration and a world-class place to live, learn, work and visit.

The tourism economy in NewcastleGateshead was valued at £1.2billion in 2007, a 4% growth since 2006. In 2007 NewcastleGateshead attracted 19.5 million visitors from the UK and overseas, a 3% increase on 2006. Tourism in NewcastleGateshead supports 17,700 direct jobs, and indirectly supports a further 4,900

Press releases and copyright-free hi-res images on NewcastleGateshead are available from our website

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