A NEW managing director has been appointed at the economic development organisation for County Durham

Brian Archer (pictured) has joined Business Durham, part of Durham County Council, and is looking to build on the excellent progress made by its team.

Mr Archer, from Leeds, is the former business development director of an FTSE 250 company, has been chief executive of two Business Links and was recently commercial director of Leeds City College Group.

He has also run his own business which gives him the insight to understand the needs of start-ups and SMEs.

He said: "I believe there’s a wider role for business to not only generate prosperity but to change lives by creating new opportunities and raising aspirations. Business Durham is already making that happen and I look forward to supporting and leading the team as they continue to find innovative ways to help businesses in County Durham thrive and grow. I see this role as an exciting opportunity to make a difference."

Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: "Brian is an outstanding candidate with a wealth of experience in different roles across the country, spanning various sectors at director level.

"His experience of running his own business will also be particularly beneficial when working to promote the interests of SMEs in the county. We very much looking forward to working with him."

Business Durham works with more than 1,000 businesses across County Durham every year. The organisation has helped many companies invest in the county, including Hitachi Rail and ResQ, and has invested more than £16m in its business accommodation.

Recent investments include the multi-million pound expansion of the North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield, which it manages.

Mr Archer has taken over from Dr Simon Goon, who left earlier this year to become chief operating officer at Synoptica, an early-stage artificial intelligence company in Seaham.