A well-known North East dealmaker has taken over as the new chief executive of regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers.
Jonathan Luke has served as the Newcastle-based firm’s portfolio director for the last four years and was promoted to deputy chief executive earlier this year as part of NEL’s succession planning preparations.
His predecessor, Dr Yvonne Gale, will be working alongside Jonathan over the coming months to help complete a smooth transition before taking up a non-executive director role with NEL.
Jonathan joined NEL in 2004 after a career in the regional banking sector, and holds the CFA Institute’s Investment Management Certificate.
As portfolio director, he has provided a direct link to the firms in which investments are made, reviewing their progress and acting as a sounding board for their management teams, and has regularly chaired NEL’s Investment and Portfolio Committee meetings.
NEL Fund Managers is responsible for running two of the five funds which make up the £120m North East Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund.
Since taking on responsibility for investing the £18m North East Growth Capital Fund and £9m North East Small Loan Fund in 2018, it has made more than 250 investments across the region and during the summer, it took the total amount it has invested from the two funds past £20m.
Jonathan Luke says: “NEL has been helping ambitious North East businesses achieve their growth potential for more than 30 years, and despite all the challenges facing the regional economy today, there’s no shortage of robust business plans coming our way.
“The personal relationships we build with management teams, the understanding we develop of their businesses and the sounding board that we provide right through the investment relationship are the key elements of our way of working.
“Our aim is to continue to do good work with good businesses and to keep having a positive impact on the North East economy, and it’s exciting for me to be taking on lead responsibility for making this happen.”
Graham Thrower, chairman of NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Yvonne has led NEL with great distinction for the last seven years and we’re very pleased to be retaining her expertise as a non-executive director.
“Jonathan has been a key part of the team for almost two decades and has all the skills, knowledge and experience to lead the business through the next stages of its development.”