BID appoints Chief Executive

11 December 2013

Ken Dunbar has been appointed as the first Chief Executive of the new Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID) company. 

He will be responsible for leading the work of the BID which will see at least £3.4m invested in the city centre over the next five years. Ken takes up his new role on 1st January 2014 in readiness for the new BID company to become operational in April 2014. The BID will be working to make the city centre a cleaner, brighter, safer place with more events, marketing and promotion and a more vibrant evening economy.

Originally from Kirkcaldy, Ken is the former Chief Executive of Aberlour – Scotland’s largest children’s charity. He was previously Chief Executive of Castle Morpeth Borough Council in Northumberland where he led the £40m improvement programme in Morpeth Town Centre. With an early career in the leisure and culture sector, Ken has also managed major festivals and events in Brighton and Dudley.

Andy Bradley, Chair of the Interim BID Steering Board and Centre Director of the Bridges Shopping Centre, said: “Ken’s appointment marks an exciting first step towards getting the BID up and running. We are incredibly ambitious about what we want to achieve for the city centre over the next five years and Ken’s extensive experience will be a tremendous asset for Sunderland. He has a superb track record in working with businesses and running high performing organisations to deliver outstanding results. His skills in attracting fundraising will be an added benefit, as we aim to build on the BID’s existing five-year funding of £3.4m to attract even more investment in the city centre.” 

Ken Dunbar said: “I believe Sunderland has fantastic potential to grow and become a thriving city centre. The BID investment and initiatives we will start to roll out in April will act as an important catalyst for positive change. One of the first things I’ll be doing is getting out and about to meet with traders, businesses and organisations to hear their views about the challenges and opportunities facing the city. I want to make sure the BID gives businesses a real voice and influences key decisions about what happens in our city centre.”

In July this year businesses voted in favour of setting up a BID which will be funded by a 1.5% levy on business rates to pay for a range of improvement initiatives.