Sunderland entrepreneur  Paul Callaghan has been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to the North East in the Queen’s 2012 Birthday Honours list.

As chairman of global Sunderland-based company Leighton Group and chairman of One North East Paul has taken an active role in the economic development of the North East and his home city.

Paul said: “I feel extremely proud to have received this award. It is honour for me personally but I think it is also a recognition of the achievements of the many people working in the various organisations with which I am involved. I hope it reflects the hard work and commitment that these organisations have shown in furthering the economic, educational, cultural and social well-being of the north east.

“I have always believed passionately that creating a strong economy, good quality jobs, a strong robust business base with an associated entrepreneurial culture, education and learning opportunities for all and a fair and equitable society are the keys to a high quality of life for people and communities.”

Paul is currently Chairman of the Regional Development Agency ONE North East and is Chair of Chairs of all England’s Regional Development agencies. These posts end when all RDAs formally close on 30th June 2012.

Alan Clarke, One North East Chief Executive, said: “Paul thoroughly deserves this recognition for his massive contribution to the wellbeing and prosperity of the region and the people who live and study here and I am delighted with the award.  He is an experienced leader across a wide range of areas which impact on people’s lives who is highly respected regionally and nationally where he has been chairing the RDA national network since October 2010.

“His leadership, energy and infectious enthusiasm make him a perfect role model for people in the region who aspire to improve their own and other people’s lives and he has brought all of these qualities to One North East in his role as Chairman.”

Mr Callaghan is also Chairman of Sunderland University whose Vice Chancellor Peter Fidler said: “Paul’s contribution to the North East and to Sunderland through his business, the Leighton Group, and through selfless and creative public service has been huge.  As one of the founding innovators in the Sunderland Software City project, and as Chairman of One North East, he has been instrumental in creating major economic development infrastructure for the city and region.

“I have been privileged to work with Paul also through his Chairmanship of the Board of Governors of the University of Sunderland, where his skillful and insightful leadership has helped us to a position of great strength in the higher education landscape. The University is indebted to him and celebrates this great honour for him in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Year and on Her Majesty’s birthday.  It is richly deserved.”

Paul is also Chairman and Co-Sponsor of Red House Academy in Sunderland and is proud to be involved in a school that seeks to give its students the best possible education and to create life chances and opportunities for them all.

Dr Therese Quincey, Principal of Red House Academy, said: “Red House has the privilege of having Paul Callaghan as our Lead Sponsor.  He brings to the Academy unstinting support, challenge and humanity.  Awarding Paul the CBE is a rightful acknowledgment of his philanthropy, his commitment to the people and children of Sunderland and his personal investment in Sunderland’s future – not least through education.  This is a proud moment for us all.”

Paul is extremely delighted that Jim Beirne, Chief Executive of Live Theatre, which Paul chairs, has also been given an honour in the Queen’s 2012 Birthday Honours list.

•    Paul is the Chairman of Leighton, the North East based technology, software, media and communications group that he founded is a market leader in several technology sectors. The Group’s software is used throughout the world. The Group includes Leighton, SaleCycle, The WorkCast Corporation, Business Education Publishers, My World Publishing and Courage Creative. Among the Group’s clients are British Airways, the Australian Government, Sage, Laura Ashley, Sony and The Body Shop.
•    He is also Chairman of ONE North East, Chairman of the University of Sunderland, Chairman of Red House Academy in Sunderland, Chairman of Live Theatre in Newcastle and Chair of Chairs of England’s Regional Development Agencies.
•    Paul co-founded and helped it to grow to become one of Europe’s largest domain name registrars before selling it to VeriSign. 4Projects, the UK’s market leader in the provision of on-line Project Management software, which had been established as part of the Leighton Group, was sold in 2007 to its management team. Communicator Corp, which was conceived and developed within the Leighton Group, was sold to Trinity Mirror in 2011.
•    Ernst and Young voted Paul the ‘Northern E-business Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2000 and in 2005 he was voted the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ in the Portfolio Awards. In 2010 he was given the first ever ‘Outstanding Contribution to the City’ Award by Sunderland City Council.
•    He was a founder director of the Entrepreneurs Forum, formerly Chairman of RTC North, and formerly Chairman of Business Link North East. Paul was Chair of the Sunderland Software City Advisory Board helping to develop Sunderland and the north east region as a major centre for software development.
•    He became Chairman of ONE North East in August 2010 after serving on the Board since 2006. He is currently Chair of Chairs of all of England’s Regional Development Agencies.
•    In 2009 he was commissioned as Deputy Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear. Paul is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the Institute of Administrative Management. He is the fourth ‘David Goldman Visiting Professor of Business Innovation’ at the University of Newcastle and has been a Visiting Professor of Business at London Metropolitan University.
•    He is Chairman of Live Theatre in Newcastle and is a trustee of the Make A Difference Foundation, a charity that supports education and health projects in the third world. He is also a member of the Sunderland Foundation of Light Development Board.
•    He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the University of Sunderland in recognition of his contribution to the business and academic life of the region and is now Chairman of the University’s Board of Governors. Paul is Co-sponsor and Chairman of Red House Academy in Sunderland.
•    In 2011 he joined the Northern Economic Futures Commission which is seeking to develop a vision and a policy framework for the North of England for the next twenty years.
•    With a first degree in Economics from the London School of Economics, a Masters degree in Management and Education from Newcastle University and a further Masters degree in Finance and Economics from the University of Salford, he is the author or editor of 16 books and numerous articles on business and IT.
•    Featured as one of the ‘Passionate People’ in ONE North East’s award-winning Regional Image campaign ‘Passionate People, Passionate Places’. Genuinely passionate about helping the North East region to grow and prosper, he believes that this is only possible by extending education, culture and the arts and by developing a talented and well-educated population and creating a fair and equitable society.