Posted on:
12th January, 2022

Two new members bring wealth of experience to Business Board

Two highly experienced business leaders have been appointed as members of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority Business Board.

Dr Belinda Clarke, director of Agri-TechE, a membership organisation for the agri-tech sector, and Vic Annells, chief executive of the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, have joined the Board.

The Business Board is the region’s Local Enterprise Partnership, responsible for strategic investments into the economy to promote growth, support and accelerate business and create jobs and opportunities for people.

A formal appointments panel made the appointments, which were noted by the Business Board when it met on 10th January. The appointments are subject to the completion of an induction and they are due to join their first Business Board meeting in March.

Private sector members of the Board act in an independent capacity and are not representing their respective organisations.

As director of Agri-TechE, Dr Clarke is part of Europe’s largest commercial membership network connecting farmers and growers with researchers, technologists, entrepreneurs and investors. Agri-TechE brings together those who see innovation as way to enhance the economic growth, agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability of the agri-food value chain.

Dr Clarke is also a Non-Executive Director of Agrimetrics, one of the UK’s Agri-Tech Centres, and was a member of the Council of UKRI-BBSRC and a Trustee of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (2015-2021). In 2021 she was awarded The Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association’s Sir Timothy Colman Prize for “outstanding leadership in the agri-tech sector.”

She has a first degree from the University of Cambridge in Natural Sciences (Part II Plant Sciences) and a PhD in plant biochemistry following her research on starch production in peas and potatoes at the John Innes Centre. She is a Nuffield Scholar, an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Councils, a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Biology, and the Clean Growth Leadership Network, a Chartered Biologist, and a qualified business coach.

Dr Clarke said: “The geography covered by the Business Board is unique in the UK and arguably globally in its repository of highly productive Grade 1 agricultural land, its enabling financial community and the multi-disciplinarity of its research and business communities. I am looking forward to working alongside colleagues on the Business Board to help leverage and enable continued and enhanced success of businesses in the area.”

Mr Annells has recently become Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce. Prior to this, he was Executive Director of Mansion House and the Central Criminal Court, where his remit involved supporting and advising the Lord Mayor of the City of London to serve as a global ambassador for the UK-based financial and professional services industry. Vic’s role also covered the running of Mansion House and the UK’s leading criminal court, the Old Bailey.

He a wealth of experience from work in Africa, the Middle East and Europe in the public and private sectors. Mr Annells held roles including Director for the Department for International Trade in Saudi Arabia, HM Consul General in Milan, and Director General for Trade and Investment in Italy on behalf of UK Trade & Investment. He holds a Masters Degree in International Relations from Cambridge University.

Mr Annells said: “I am very pleased to be joining the fantastic team of industry experts and opinion leaders on the Business Board to support business growth across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. I’m looking forward to using my knowledge and experience of the diverse and exciting business environment we have in the region to support the vital work of the Board.”

Austen Adams, chair of the Business Board, said:  “We are thrilled to welcome Belinda and Vic to the Business Board and their wealth of knowledge, experience of the local economy will be invaluable.

“It will be a busy 2022 as we continue to invest in the skills, jobs and enterprise across the region, and we can’t wait to add Belinda and Vic’s insights to the work we do.”