Paul is the co-founder of the Leighton Group of companies, the north-east based set of technology, software, media and communications businesses. The group includes Leighton, Salecycle, Workcast and Footy.com.
Paul was previously Chairman of ONE North East and Chair of Chairs of all of England’s Regional Development Agencies. He has also been Chair of the Sunderland Economic Leadership Board, Business Link North East, the North East Regional Technology Centre, the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, the University of Sunderland and of Red House Academy. He is currently Chair of
Live Theatre Newcastle and of the Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture Trust. He also sits on the Board of Sunderland Culture Ltd.
Born and educated in Sunderland, Paul trained as an economist and has a first degree in Economics from the LSE, 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 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Sunderland in 2017
and has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts since 2008. In 2012, he was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to the North East. In 2013, he was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear and in 2018, he became the High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear.