The Institute of Directors (IoD) has appointed Ralph Pickles as deputy chair for Yorkshire and the North East.
Ralph will support directors across a region that stretches from Northumberland to Sheffield, including the regional powerhouses of Leeds, Newcastle, Hull and York.

Working alongside regional chair Delroy Beverley, he will create connections between directors, drive skills and training opportunities and lobby for support to help leaders build back better from the pandemic.

Ralph has run a wide-range of international chemical and food-based businesses and currently chairs organisations in the UK medical devices and not-for-profit sectors.

He started his career in the chemicals industry with ICI, later moving to Zeneca to launch and scale-up meat alternative brand Quorn. He spent 13 years with Sensient Technologies, working in the UK, US and Asia, where he acquired and integrated a number of companies, built new factories and grew sales organically at its global Flavors and Fragrances Group from US$600m to US$800m.
On retirement from full-time employment, Ralph was invited to chair and invest in several early stage companies. He is a director of, and chairs, the audit committee at Outwood Grange Multi-Academy Trust.

Ralph said: “We are living through changing times for directors, following the off-shoring of manufacturing and emergence of transformative technologies. AI and robotics are leading to further changes in the workplace. Each of these trends creates a new challenge for directors and education providers to anticipate and prepare for the future.

“The IoD has a key role to play in developing the directors of the future who will lead their organisations through this changing world of new methods of production, new legislation, environmental and societal challenges and, as we have seen during the pandemic, rapid changes in ways of working and how organisations interact.”

Delroy Beverley, IoD regional chair for the Yorkshire and the North East, said: “Ralph’s successful career speaks for itself. His wide-ranging experience and wisdom will be an asset as we support members to not just recover from the pandemic but build a brighter and more sustainable future, built around good governance, continuous learning and collaboration.”

The IoD has secured vital support for directors during the Covid-19 pandemic, including financial assistance for wage bills and changes to insolvency rules.