/ About / The Board / New Chair and Deputy Chairman

Debbie Francis OBE, New Chair

Debbie Francis’ distinguished business career includes periods as Cities Executive for Arcadis UK, as Managing Director of Direct Rail Services (2016-20), and London North Western Route Finance & Commercial Director with Network Rail (2012-16). Debbie also held senior roles with Enterprise Managed Services and SAIC. Earlier in her career she worked for Bibby Line Ltd, Stanley Leisure and Pannell Kerr Forster Chartered Accountants. She is a Chartered Director and Fellow of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA).

In addition to her role at the LEP, Debbie also holds a number of non-executive roles:  Chair, Harwich Haven Authority; Non-Executive Director, MDC Stockport; Senior Non-Executive Director, Loram UK; Chair, Penny Bridge CofE Academy; and Trustee/Director, Pave The Way.

Debbie received an OBE in the New Years Honours. It was the latest in a  number of awards and honours recognising her contribution to business and the community in recent years, including: winner of the 2019 IoD North West Director of the Year for  Inclusivity, highly commended for Women in STEM at the  Inspire Awards, awarded the honour of Woman with Edge at the prestigious Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2019 and inclusion as one of top 50 Northern Power Women in the 2019 Power List.

In addition to an undergraduate degree from John Moores University and an MBA from the University of Manchester, Debbie is currently completing a PhD in Leadership at Manchester Metropolitan University.

David Taylor CBE DL, Deputy Chair

David Taylor

David has built a reputation as a national expert in urban regeneration and more recently in green technologies.  He studied and qualified in architecture and urban planning.  David has lived and worked in Lancashire for over thirty years.

He helped to establish, and became Managing Director of, Lancashire Enterprises Limited (now Enterprise plc).

He then had a period as Managing Director of Amec Developments Limited working on projects worldwide.  He was head hunted to become the first Chief Executive of English Partnerships (now The Homes and Communities Agency).

In a joint venture with British Land plc and a number of other major partners, David was the developer of a range of schemes in London which delivered residential, commercial, leisure and retail facilities with an end value of £2 billion.  Over the last fifteen years he has built up a portfolio of companies which include Allied Lighting (LED), Carbon Numbers (Carbon Analysis), Endo Enterprises (Green Water Treatment systems), iHandover (Senior Executive Knowledge Transfer) and Energy 10 Ltd (Waste to Green Energy).

He acted as Special Advisor to The Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott for eighteen months (from 1997) with specific responsibility for the Regional White Paper and the setting up of Regional Development Agencies.  He also chaired a major regeneration trust for The Prince Of Wales from 1997 until 2003 spending three years on the Princes Foundation.

In terms of David’s pro bono work he was a director of Manchester’s hugely successful Commonwealth games, a director of the London 2012 Olympics and he has recently become the Chairman of The University of Central Lancashire.  In addition, over the last twenty years he has served as a director of Preston North End for most of that time as Deputy Chairman.

David was awarded a CBE in 2007 for his services to the community of Lancashire and became a Deputy Lieutenant in 2015.


Read next Miranda Barker