Sir John Hall and Paul Ryan address Alnwick business forum

Paul Ryan and Sir John Hall.
Paul Ryan and Sir John Hall.

Two prominent business leaders addressed Alnwick Town Council’s latest Business Networking Forum meeting last month.

Paul Ryan, finance director at Arcinova, and Sir John Hall, the developer of the Metrocentre and the life president and former chairman of Newcastle United, were the event's guest speakers.

Sir John Hall and Deputy Mayor George Mavin.

Sir John Hall and Deputy Mayor George Mavin.

Paul Ryan gave a fascinating account of how he and his business partner, Ian Shott, set up Arcinova just two years ago at the former Covance Alnwick Research Centre on the southern

outskirts of Alnwick. Paul and Ian have successfully guided Arcinova to achieve both profitability and rapid growth, creating many new highly skilled jobs at the site during 2017.

The audience of more than 40 Alnwick business ownerss was also greatly entertained by Sir John Hall as he gave an account of his long business career as a developer including masterminding the construction of the Metrocentre in Gateshead and guiding Newcastle United to their most successful era of the last 60 years.

Sir John also offered his thoughts on how market towns, such as Alnwick, need to adapt to the significant loss of retail trade to retail parks and internet shopping.

Alnwick Town Council’s projects and funding officer, Tim Kirton, said: "We are very grateful to Paul and to Sir John for starting our 2018 programme of quarterly business forums with quite a bang; Arcinova has nearly doubled their workforce since they started exactly two years ago and have recruited many very talented young people to the firm, many of whom are women and are tremendous role models to our local students.

"Sir John was years ahead of his time when he developed the Metrocentre in 1986 and revolutionised shopping in the North East; it was very interesting to hear him say that he was

inspired to do this by a particularly wet day's shopping in Northumberland Street in Newcastle!"

Further quarterly Alnwick Business Networking Forum meetings well be held this year on May 22, August 21, when MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan will attend, and on November 20.