Aston Science Park is set to have its first new chief executive officer since launching a quarter of a century ago.
John Cronin, currently non executive drector and adviser to various technology companies, takes over from Dr Derek Harris who has been at the helm since the park launched in 1983.
John said he was looking forward to following on the solid foundations set by Dr Harris.
He said: “Founded 25 years ago as the first inner-city science park in Britain, Aston Science Park is today recognised as one of the foremost establishments of its kind in Europe. Under Dr Harris’ leadership, the Science Park has made a tremendous contribution to the economy of Birmingham and I now look forward to being able to drive forward the next phase of the park’s exciting future.”
Born in Birmingham and now living in Warwickshire, John has more than 30 years experience in the technology science field including software, security and services telecommunications industry in international, European and domestic markets.
Over the years he has held senior roles within Azure Solutions, NetSource Europe, Teleglobe, Mercury Communications and BT and has experience of incubating new companies at BT Brightstar and in the Cambridge Network and working with SME companies across Europe.
Originally set up to provide incubator accommodation for start-up operations and SMEs within the knowledge-based sector, Aston Science Park has expanded under John’s stewardship to provide a total space of about 250,000 sq ft for fledgling and established businesses - it is now home to more than 100 companies employing in excess of 1,400 people.
One of the future Aston Science Park schemes include a joint initiative with Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Heartlands Hospital to launch a Medipark, creating hundreds of research and technology jobs.
Coun Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council and Chairman of Aston Science Park expressed his support for John’s appointment. He said: “The science park has a tremendous future and I wish John every success. John’s vast experience stands him in good stead to accept this role and drive the organisation forward.”
Dr Harris, who will leave the organisation at the end of the month, joined Aston Science Park in 1983, the year it was launched by AstonUniversity, Birmingham City Council and Lloyds TSB Bank. As well as stewarding the park, Dr Harris Dr Harris sits on the board of Aston University, is a non-executive director of several local companies and is chairman of the board of trustees of the Severn Trent Trust Fund.
He said: “It has been a tremendous journey, taking the science park from a site of inner-city dereliction through to a development that has enhanced Birmingham’s international position.”