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Leeds BID – Transforming Leeds’ Commercial Centre

[From left to right: Lawrence Wetherill, Emma Arnold, Martin Dickson, Rachel Robertshaw, Andrew Cooper, Sarah Towns, Jordan Harrison Reader, Karen Butler and Joe Lawson]

The LeedsBID is an independent not for profit business led initiative voted for by the city’s business sectors, private and public, which came into existence in April 2015. In October Andrew Cooper was appointed as its Chief Executive.

The 44-year-old is responsible for leading the work of the BID as it invests more than £12 million in the city centre during its first term (five years).  The BID will be working to make the city centre a cleaner, brighter, safer place; raising the profile by improving standards and adding value through a strategic series of diverse and high profile events and marketing.

Andrew, who hails from Nottingham and has worked around the UK, has a strong track record in business and retail and is well versed in the important work of BIDs in this country. He was Chief Executive of the Bath BID for eight years, where he helped secure over £4m of economic investment in the UNESCO World Heritage city. He was credited with putting Bath on the map thanks to a host of high profile business events, including Bath in Fashion and the Great Bath Feast, which both won awards.

Before that, Andrew was the City Centre Manager of Bath, and Town Centre Manager of Stratford-upon-Avon. Earlier in his career, he cut his teeth at Boots head office in Nottingham where he held a variety of posts ranging from retail distribution to marketing and operations.

Andrew said “Leeds has fantastic potential to improve further and become an even bigger player. I am coming without any pre-conceived ideas and a fresh eye which I hope will work in the city’s favour.”

He said that the BID’s investment and initiatives will act as an important catalyst for further positive change.

“My first exercise has been to listen take on board what the businesses tell me and make sure the BID gives them a real voice and opportunity to influence key decisions about what happens in the city centre.  Experience tells me the best way to do this is for everyone to work together for the same aim.”.

Working alongside Andrew on the management team is Karen Butler and Martin Dickson, with support from Personal Assistant Rachel Robertshaw.

Karen Butler is Head of Place Management and Delivery with LeedsBID and knows the city inside out. The proud Tyke – born in Rotherham – went to university in Leeds and spent her early career in town planning working with various councils across the country.

She returned to Leeds in the early 1990s to work in place management and has been involved in some of the city’s most exciting commercial developments including the refurbishment of the Victoria Quarter and The Light and the pedestrianisation of Briggate. She was also involved with civic work including the Jubilee Wing at the LGI and the Henry Moore Gallery.

“Leeds has all the right ingredients to be a global competitor and the BID is perfectly placed to raise the profile of the city on an international stage,” Karen said.

Martin Dickson is Head of Marketing, Communications & Brand and knows all about world stages.  He studied music at university and spent 14 years in the industry working for EMI records promoting international stars including Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue and The Spice Girls.

His job helped him develop a knowledge and understanding of how to engage with large young audiences and 11 years ago, he embarked on a new challenge and career, moving into marketing at the former Park Lane College, Leeds.

The 47-year-old was Head of Market Research, Communications and Corporate Reputation at Leeds City College, the third largest further education college in the UK.  He helped create the college six years ago by merging three local colleges; in the last four years his team has won nine national awards.

Martin, who hails from Manchester but has lived in Harrogate for 9 years, has strong connections in Leeds with all the key organisations in education, business, sport, music, food and the council.

“I’ve got an amazing amount of affection for Leeds.  It’s such a diverse and buzzing city. The BID is all about bringing different sectors together to promote the city and shout about what it has to offer, as one.  I can’t wait to get stuck in and am excited about the challenge ahead,” he said.

Rachel Robertshaw is Personal Assistant to Andrew Cooper and joins the BID team having worked in various public and private sector industries over the course of her career.

Rachel is a born and raised West Yorkshire lass and now lives in Ossett; she loves to visit Leeds to experience all it has to offer.

“I started my career in Leeds over 20 years ago and although I have worked in many places since then, I have visited Leeds regularly socially. It is lovely to be back working here and to be part of a team who are working hard to raise the profile of this great city,” she said.

And the LeedsBID team is growing with new additions including:

Lawrence Wetherill – Head Ranger

Jane Coughlin – Project Executive

Sarah Towns – Marketing Executive

Joe Lawson – Digital Marketing Assistant

Jordan Harrison Reader – Graphic Designer

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