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Debbie Francis OBE, 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.

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