Our board

Our board oversees our performance and strategic direction.

The board represents the business community and education sectors, and is appointed by the Minister responsible for the Department for the Economy.

It is also responsible for ensuring the highest standards of corporate governance, efficiency and propriety in the use of public funds.

Invest Northern Ireland's board members are:

Mark Ennis - Chairperson

Mark was appointed Chairman of Invest Northern Ireland on 1 January 2012. He has been Chairman of SSE (Ireland) since 1st October 2010. Mark continues to have input to Public and Regulatory Affairs at Ministerial level and an overview for Public relations for all SSE activities in Ireland. In June 2016 he was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to business and the economy in Northern Ireland.

In October 2013 he was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of Liberty Insurance Ltd where he also serves as Chairman of the Risk Committee and a member of the Audit Committee. In addition he serves as a non-executive Director of a number of small start-up companies.

In December 2010 he was appointed to the Economic Advisory Group set up to advise the Minister for the Economy on economic policy in relation to matters such as productivity and access to finance. In addition to his business activities, Mark was appointed by Minister Poots to an advisory panel for the review of Health and Social Care (1st Sept 2011 – 30th Nov 2011). In February 2012 – May 2013 Mark was appointed by Minister Foster and Minister Poots to serve on a Task and Finish Group to report and make specific recommendations on how to deliver business opportunities and drive economic growth out of the £4.5 billion Health and Social Services budget.

Mark is a past Chairman of CBI Northern Ireland (1999-2000) and currently serves on the CBI Business Committee. He was Chairman of the Management Leadership Network (2002 -2008) an organisation established in 2002 to encourage leadership development in NI’s small businesses. He is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Management.

An Economic Honours Graduate of Queens University of Belfast, with an Open University MBA, Queens further honoured him in 2001 with their Graduate of the Year award for services to industry.

Mark actively supports local charities and has served on the fundraising committees of the Marie Curie Cancer Foundation and the Simon Community. He is married with 4 children. He enjoys sailing, golfing and skiing.

Brian Baird

Brian is currently non-executive Chairman of two Northern Ireland based software product companies and is a non-executive Director in a third. This is after having an extensive career with ICL in a number of senior positions across Europe.

He has experience of being a Board member for a number of local technology companies as well as having led a successful content product company established in 2001, co-headquartered in Belfast and Boston. He holds an honorary doctorate from Ulster University.

Padraig Canavan OBE

Padraig is Chair of FlowForma (Dublin), LitheIT (Glasgow), Scattr, Hunter Apparel Solutions, U4D (all Derry) and the Learning City subcommittee of the Derry City and Strabane District Education and Skills Implementation Group.

An active angel investor and past president of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce he also sits on the boards of the North West Regional College, St. Mary’s College, and the Verbal Arts Centre and previously sat on the Software Industry Federation, Oakgrove Integrated Primary School and the Skills Education Cluster boards.

With a degree from Manchester University in Electronic & Electrical Engineering and 10 years’ experience in the London & New York FinTech industry, Padraig then founded and successfully ran Derry HQ’ed global independent software vendor Singularity until it is was acquired by Californian based Kofax in 2011.

A native of Derry Padraig is married to Jill and they have four children.

Deborah Lange

Deborah has had a lengthy career in international business and tax, working with Arthur Andersen in London, Hong Kong and the United States. She also worked for almost 20 years with Oracle Corporation in California as their Senior Vice President of Tax where she was responsible for site selection, corporate governance and risk assessment in addition to the company’s global taxes. She has also had experience as a board member with two small software companies, and as Chair of the Silicon Valley Tax Directors Group and member of the Executive Committee of the Tax Executive Institute.

Deborah is also a member of the board of the Belfast Harbour Commission.

Ken Nelson MBE

Ken has extensive involvement in economic development, enterprise development and the social economy as CEO of Local Economic Development Company (LEDCOM) Ltd. In 2010 he was the sole Northern Ireland recipient of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion. Ken has over 27 years’ experience working as a business advisor, mentor and trainer with entrepreneurs, start-up companies, small businesses and social enterprises. He has over 21 years’ experience working as an economic development advisor to local government. Ken was one of the founding directors and former Chairman of Enterprise Northern Ireland.

Following appointment in December 2016, Ken is currently Chairman of InterTradeIreland, the cross border trade and development body.

He is a voluntary member of the board of directors of two social enterprises as well as a current member of the governing body of Stranmillis University College, Belfast.

Before joining LEDCOM, Ken had a career in textiles as a textile technologist, production manager and product manager. During this period he was also responsible for research and development and marketing in relation to new product development. He has a BA in Business Studies, MBA and MSc in Human Resource Management.

In 2018 Ken was recognised with a MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours for his services to local economic development and the voluntary sector.

Mark Nodder

Mark most recently held the combined role of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Wrights Group, the Ballymena based manufacturers of public transport vehicles, retiring in March 2019 after 21 years with the company.

A trained lawyer, Mark began his career with the National Audit Office in England and subsequently moved to Riyadh, working as Contracts Manager for the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defence and Aviation. Relocating to Northern Ireland in 1986. Mark worked for Shorts/Bombardier as Sales and Marketing Director of the Defence Systems Division and went on to hold a similar position with Survitec.

Mark is a past President of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and is also a member of the Economic Advisory Group, an independent group of senior industrial figures providing advice to the Minister for the Economy. He was awarded an OBE for services to the Northern Ireland economy in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Gerard O'Hare CBE DL

Gerard is currently Chair and MD of Parker Green International, a property company with an extensive portfolio of Irish, UK and international developments. He is also a visiting professor at the Ulster University, School of the Built Environment and the prestigious Harvard Graduate School of Design, USA and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of letters for his involvement in and dedication to the championing of public private partnerships and urban regeneration.

Gerard has been involved in a range of local activities in the Newry and South Down area. He chaired Tall Ships Belfast and is currently on a number of boards such as Belfast Harbour Commissioners, Business in the Community and the NI Prince's Trust. He is also Honorary Consul of the Republic of Latvia to Northern Ireland.

Scott Rutherford

Scott joined Queen’s University as Director of Research and Enterprise in November 2010. He provides strategic oversight for the development of the research base and the delivery of knowledge exchange activities both within the region and beyond. Before joining Queen’s, Scott spent several years at Imperial College London leading academic research activities within the Faculty of Medicine and more broadly as Research Office Head and Programme Director, Business Intelligence. During his time at Imperial College, Scott also oversaw the successful delivery of a number of major projects to support research development and commercialisation.

Scott has also held a number of posts within research strategy and policy development, working for the Medical Research Council and for the Higher Education Funding Council for England, where latterly he played a key role in developing the Research Excellence Framework programme. Scott is a member of the Northern Ireland MATRIX Panel, the Catalyst Inc Leadership Group and holds an undergraduate degree in English and Geography from the University of Keele and an MBA from Imperial College London.

Rose Mary Stalker

Rose Mary is an experienced business leader who has successfully operated for many years at Executive Team and Board level in complex multi-disciplinary global organisations, such as Ford, Boeing and Rolls-Royce, responsible for the successful delivery of multiple transformational projects in a range of disciplines, new product delivery, business models, manufacturing, logistics, service centres, recruitment and quality, across numerous industry sectors, aerospace, automotive, construction and energy.

Rose Mary works as an independent consultant and serves as Chair of The Prince’s Trust in Northern Ireland, having previously chaired The Colin Neighbourhood Partnership, Catagen Limited and been a Non Executive Director of Catalyst Inc. She has recently been appointed Chair of The Manufacturing Task Force for The Mid & East Antrim Borough Council.

A graduate of Queen's University, she is the recipient of numerous awards, including the European Woman of Achievement in Business and European Automotive Woman of the Year. Rose Mary is a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, Member of the Institute of Directors and Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.

Dr Mark Sweeney OBE

Mark has a background in the industrial, commercial and manufacturing sectors within Northern Ireland and globally. He is a former Vice President of Caterpillar from 2012 to 2015 and prior to that Global Operations Director for Caterpillar's Electric Power Division and Managing Director of FG Wilson Eng. Ltd. Prior to joining Caterpillar, Mark worked for eight years in the US for a marine engine company, Mercury Marine. He graduated from Queens University, Belfast with a 1st class honours degree and PhD in Mechanical Engineering. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He was President of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce from 2006-2008. In 2007 he was awarded an OBE for services to business and in 2011, an Honorary D.Sc. Degree from Queen's University. He is currently a Non Executive Director of NITHC.

Judith Totten MBE

Judith Totten MBE is the founder/owner of Upstream Working Capital, a company she originally established 2011 as an independent provider of working capital funding for Northern Ireland SME’s. Prior to establishing Upstream, Judith had a successful career in banking, principally with Danske Bank.

Upstream currently supports a wide variety of indigenous NI businesses and Judith is driven to see the alternative finance market growing exponentially in the years ahead. The most recent expansion has seen the genesis of Upstream Trade Finance – a company set up to fund the supply chain and trade purchase needs of local SMEs. This is a unique offering in NI and completes the working capital cycle for many businesses whereby Upstream are now providing 'end to end' finance from 'supplier to buyer'.

As well as being a non-exec Board Member of Invest NI, Judith sits on the Council of The Princes Trust in NI and has most recently been appointed Non-Executive Chairperson of Serious PR. Judith is a respected and recognisable face throughout the province both as a provider of finance solutions for business and as a commentator on the finance market generally. Judith was awarded an MBE in 2018 for Services to Economic Development in NI.

In her personal life Judith is a busy wife, mother and doting ‘nanny’ to Emily.

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