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Commitment to economic development recognised as Directors step down

Cornwall Council and Cornwall Development Company (CDC) pay tribute this month to three renowned business leaders as they step down from their positions on the CDC Board of Directors.

Current CDC Chairman Martin Brooks, Sarah Trethowan of Redruth based pharmaceutical consultancy firm TRAC Services, and Managing Director of St Austell Brewery James Staughton will all finish in their roles as Non-Executive directors of CDC, the Council’s economic development company, on 30 September.


Over the last six years they have shown great commitment and support to both the Company and the Council and have overseen some impressive achievements in a wide number of areas.


Councillor Julian German, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Culture, said 

“It has been fantastic to have the wisdom and insight of Martin, Sarah and James serving as Non-Executive Directors on Cornwall Development Company. It is testament to their commitment to Cornwall that they have carried out their roles whilst also having their own businesses to run. I wish them every success in their future endeavours.”

Suzanne Bond, Chief Executive of Cornwall Development Company added 

“We always knew this day would come, with Non-Executive Directors only able to do two terms of three years, but it still feels too soon. The support, advice and motivation from Martin, Sarah and James has been beyond compare. With their objectivity, professionalism and moral courage, they balanced their commitment to and knowledge of Cornwall with their credentials in running some of the most admired businesses in the country to be a veritable force for good in Cornwall.”

Cornish boy Martin Brooks returned to his roots to chair CDC as he is originally from Newquay, attending Truro Cathedral School and Newquay Grammar School.  After graduating from Oxford University he completed his education by serving with the 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles before embarking on a career in media and IT.  Working mostly at the Financial Times, as a group director and divisional CEO he created its world leading securities valuation business. More recently he has chaired Idox plc for ten years until this August. Idox is a quoted specialist information management company supplying the public sector and large corporations, which grew from under 100 to over 600 staff around the world during his time as chairman.


Martin truly recognises the benefits digital connectivity can bring and during his tenure at CDC has been an ardent advocate of the value of the Superfast Cornwall project, which has achieved 95% coverage of fibre broadband to Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly.  Over half of businesses report growth attributable to fibre broadband and over a quarter have either created or safeguarded jobs as a direct result of the Superfast Cornwall programme.  Martin is also passionate about developing conditions for growth in Cornwall and has seen CDC commit £29m in investment commitment to state of the art workspace infrastructure and supported funding applications to deliver 50,000 square metre of prime workspace.


Sarah Trethowan started out her working life as a Post Office graduate trainee but, with her husband Jonathan, has built up one of the most successful and fastest growing businesses in the region. Sarah’s business success has achieved recognition from the Cornwall Business Awards and the Institute of Directors South West and sees her company ranked in the top 100 in the UK. 


She is a passionate promoter of entrepreneurship and, during her time as a Non-Executive Director, CDC has delivered over £31m of business investment to enhance growth and created almost 6,000 jobs as a result. Skills development is also a passion of Sarah’s and over 5,000 learners have been engaged across a variety of levels and sectors in Cornwall.  CDC has also achieved bronze accreditation with Investors in People and a silver award in the Healthy Workplace scheme thanks to Sarah’s support.


St Austell Brewery is not only one of the largest and most successful employers in Cornwall but it is also one of the oldest family run businesses.  With a turnover in excess of £120m and nearly 170 pubs across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, James has also overseen the business entering international markets with its award winning brands. 


During his role with CDC, and Cornwall Enterprise before that, James Staughton has been a staunch supporter of the tourism and food and drink sectors.  As a member of the Visit Cornwall Partnership, which was delivered alongside Visit Cornwall by CDC until April of this year, James has seen the impact of tourism activity result in over £75m in additional visitor spend.  Food and drink has also been a focus of CDC’s Cornwall Brand activity within the Invest in Cornwall Team, which has showcased Cornish companies in the media with coverage worth around £2.4m and supported over 70 businesses to relocate in the area.

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