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Arcadis appoints new City Executive for the Northern Powerhouse to drive growth agenda across the region

Arcadis has further reinforced its commitment to Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and the Northern Powerhouse with the appointment of Debbie Francis as the new City Executive for the region. Debbie will also represent Arcadis on the board of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, where Arcadis is one of the founding partners supporting the need for rail investment to connect Northern cities and delivering the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.

Debbie brings more than 20 years’ experience at Executive and Board level across a range of sectors, including education, health, infrastructure and utilities. She has previously led large-scale cultural and operational change initiatives for a number of organisations, including Network Rail and the infrastructure and utilities support service company, Enterprise Managed Services.

Debbie joins Arcadis from Direct Rail Services, a rail freight business where she was Managing Director for four years. She has also held Non-Executive Director roles at Cumbria Education Trust, Clatterbridge Cancer Care NHS Trust in Merseyside and, currently, Lancashire Care Foundation Trust.


With a strong interest in areas of leadership and team performance, Debbie has proven experience in improving business processes and bringing together diverse teams to underpin strategic success. Last year she was named in the Top 50 Northern Power Women List, won the 2019 North West & IOM Director of the Year for Inclusivity, and received the ‘Woman with Edge’ award – which recognises business women who challenge the status quo – at the 2019 Women of the Year awards.

As City Executive, Debbie will be working with transport providers, local authority leaders and the private sector across the region to help them navigate the evolving demands of the urban environment. From the challenges of housing delivery and under-investment in the railways, to positioning our cities, town and high streets for post-Covid recovery, Debbie’s focus will be on helping to shape how the region operates and the opportunities available to make it a thriving and connected place to live and do business.

Commenting on her appointment, Debbie said: “From Teesside to Merseyside, there are so many exciting growth and investment opportunities across the region, and with our great northern cities playing a key role in the Northern Powerhouse agenda, the potential for long term prosperity is huge. I’m really looking forward to working with the Arcadis team, clients and partners and building on these strong foundations to ensure that the benefits and opportunities from a renewed investment in the North can be fully realised right across this dynamic region.”

Peter Hogg, UK Cities Director at Arcadis, added: “Debbie’s expertise and breadth of experience will undoubtedly help Arcadis build on the work we have done to grow our presence in Manchester and the North to date. With her strong network and eminence in transportation and regeneration sectors that are at the heart of the region’s plans for the future, she is just the person to ensure that we are well equipped to continuing offering the best solutions for our clients, now and in the future.”

Outgoing City Executive for Manchester and the Northern Powerhouse, Jonathan Moore, will be transitioning into a new role as Business Development Executive for Arcadis Gen, Arcadis’s new digital business. In this role, Jonathan will be working with colleagues globally to identify, support and accelerate the integration of scalable digital products and solutions across the Arcadis business.

Photo credit: Arcadis

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