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Meet our Board Members


John Mothersole

Chief Executive, Sheffield City Council

Chairman of the Board

John Mothersole is the Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council. He was appointed to this role in 2008. The City Council is the third largest metropolitan authority in the country.

John joined Sheffield City Council in 1998 as Executive Director and since then has been directly and closely involved in much of the regeneration of the City.

Prior to coming to Sheffield he was a Director with the London Borough of Camden for seven years, and before that was the Arts Development Officer for Newcastle Upon Tyne.

In his current role John is closely involved in the Cities agenda, having led Sheffield’s pioneering City Deal and being at the forefront of subsequent City Growth and City Region Devolution Deals. He is also a Guardian of the Sheffield Assay Office, Chair and Director of the Source Training Centre, Chair of Sheffield City Region Chief Executives’ Group, a member of Core Cities Chief Executives’ Group and is a board member of the University of Sheffield Management School. He is also a non-executive member of the Big Lottery England Committee.


Darren Pearce

Centre Director, Meadowhall

Darren was born in Newcastle and went to Leeds Metropolitan University where he did an Accountancy degree. After graduating he qualified as a Chartered Accountant with BDO Binder Hamlyn before joining Meadowhall in 1994.

In 2003 Darren was one of the formative members of the Meadowhall Education Centre and helped develop the business to achieve the national significance that it has now realised.

In his main role at Meadowhall, Darren was Finance Director at the Centre for 14 years before taking the hot seat as Centre Director in 2008. In this time he has worked with the management team at the Centre to establish Meadowhall as one of the top performing Shopping Centres in the country and brings skills from this environment in terms of accounting and retail expertise to the Board.

In terms of broader initiatives whilst Darren’s focus has been on the main retail Centre he has worked with the team over the years to develop a number of complementary businesses for the Centre. These have ranged from software companies to The ARC, which is an offsite storage and distribution facility to support the Meadowhall retailers along with the development of the 74 acres of land that surround the Centre.

Meadowhall is currently on a journey in developing their business in the light of the dynamic and ever changing world of retail.  After finishing a £60m refurbishment of the Centre, the team were successful in securing the biggest single planning application in the history of Sheffield.  The aim being to equip the Centre to meet the challenges of the future by developing a 330,000 sq ft Leisure Hall extension, encompassing the experience and environment that modern day consumers are demanding.  Costing £300m the aim is to have the extension open by mid-2022.


Paul Woodcock

Assistant Director of Planning, Regeneration and Transport, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Paul Woodcock is the Assistant Director of Planning, Regeneration and Transport at Rotherham Council and a trustee of the Source Skills Academy.

Paul came into Local Government after graduating from Wolverhampton University (and Keene State College, USA).  In his 25 years in Local Government he has worked for a County Council, a District, a London Borough and now a Metropolitan Borough. He heads up a service of over 1,000 staff, which covers:-

  • Regeneration & Economic Development – (inc. Inward Investment, Business Incubation/start-ups, Major Development Schemes, Town Centre & Markets)
  • Asset Management / Land & Property
  • Planning & Building Control
  • Transportation & Highways Design
  • Facilities Services (inc. school catering, cleaning and crossing patrols)

Paul has been actively involved in a number of major schemes in Rotherham and is especially proud of the role played in the Thames Gateway, the Regeneration of Manvers/Dearne Valley, the Advanced Manufacturing Park & Waverley New Community.


Nichola Jones

Director, AMRC Training Centre

Co-Opted Board Member

Nikki is a highly experienced leader with over 20 years’ experience in the education sector, she holds a degree in Education and an MBA. During her career Nikki has also gained extensive experience of the governments inspection regime both as a part time inspector and nominee. She has a passion for education and in particular apprenticeships which comes from her background as a successful business woman who employed, trained and supported apprentices.

Nikki is currently the Director of the University of Sheffield’s flagship AMRC Training Centre. Prior to this Nikki was the Assistant Principal for Employer Engagement at Barnsley College and has held senior management roles across the sector.


Sue Sykes

Sheffield City Region

Co-Opted Board Member

Sue has over 20 years financial and senior management experience in both the private and public sector. She has a proven track record of delivery and has gained extensive experience of project management, financial management, procurement, commissioning and contracting in highly challenging financial environments.

Sue is currently the Assistant Director of Operational Contracts as part of the Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority’s Executive Team.  Prior to this Sue was Head of Business, Warehousing and Logistics at Barnsley College.

She is passionate about helping young people realise their potential.


Bruce James

Head of Secretariat, British Land

Co-Opted Board Member

Bruce is the Head of Secretariat at The British Land Company Plc.  After qualifying as a solicitor Bruce spent 10 years in private practice gaining experience in litigation, commercial and corporate matters before moving in-house at easyJet.  There, in addition to being a solicitor covering a wide range of commercial and regulatory matters, he also took on the role of Deputy Company Secretary and eventually Group Company Secretary.  He has been with British Land since 2016, including being their Interim Company Secretary until January 2018.


Nick Petherbridge

Manager, Primark Meadowhall

Co-Opted Board Member

Nick has worked in the Retail industry 30 years for WH Smith and Primark Stores Ltd. For the last 25 years with Primark, Nick has worked both as a Senior Manager and Area Manager – currently the Manager of Primark Meadowhall Nick is accountable for the training and development of over 500 staff and 22 management. He has been responsible for the opening of 6 stores – Middlesbrough, Barnsley, Sheffield, Leeds, Derby and Meadowhall. Nick has also been responsible for refitting and the expansion of a further 3.

The coaching and development of his teams has always been a major source of pride and to date there are over 20 store managers within the Business who started as either a sales assistant or a junior manager within one of his stores.

Having previously worked closely with The Source Skills Academy, Nick is looking forward to getting involved and providing his input from a retailer’s perspective.

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