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New EEEGR Chief Appointed

09 May 2012

Simon Gray, currently chief executive of Wells Community Hospital, is to be the new ‘face’ of EEEGR, the East of England Energy Group.

Mr Gray takes over as chief executive from EEEGR founder John Best who stepped down earlier this year.

A former chief executive of the East Anglian Air Ambulance and having held senior positions in the publishing world, Mr Gray said he was ‘champing at the bit’ to take on his new role from June 11th.

He was sad to leave Wells Hospital and intended to continue his support for its work by becoming a voluntary unpaid trustee. But he would be joining EEEGR at an exciting and busy time.

Major opportunities of more than £271bn are mapped out for the region’s energy supply chain and to ensure that such opportunities are not missed, EEEGR is working with SMEs though the supply chain development programme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. There are also exciting initiatives from EEEGR’s Skills for Energy programme, including the new EPISCentre training hub to be built in the area.

"With EEEGR, I want to ensure that this region is at the forefront of the energy industry. We must also make sure that if any international business is looking to inwardly invest into the UK, our region comes out top when they begin their search,” he said.

"We need to make sure we seize the business opportunities and the new jobs that any investment into energy would bring to this region. It will be a challenge and we must embrace the wide-ranging interests across an all-energy sector.”

Mr Gray said his first aim would be to meet as many EEEGR stakeholders and members as possible to assess their views – and he would be opening the group’s flagship summer conference, EEEGR2012, at Trinity Park, Ipswich, on Wednesday July 11th.

Accepting that his new role was a change of direction, Mr Gray said: "I’m not a helicopter pilot but I ran the Air Ambulance; I’m not a clinician but I ran a hospital; I’m not a journalist but I was in key publishing roles. I think my strength is in managing organisations, understanding what members want and showing how we can grow together.”

Mr Gray, 53, and his wife Lorraine, managing director of a hairdressing business, live at Worstead. They have one grown-up son.

Alan Barlow, EEEGR chairman, said: "We’re delighted to appoint Simon who brings a successful track record in both membership organisations and private sector industries. We believe he will bring the right leadership to grow EEEGR and further develop a coordinated energy supply chain in this region to ensure members benefit most from the multi-billion pound opportunities within the all-energy sector on our doorstep.”