Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 09.40.37NORTH East chemical research and development company, High Force Research, has announced a boardroom reshuffle after one of the leading lights in the company’s international success stepped down.

Bob Redfern, one of three founding directors of High Force Research (HFR), has retired as managing director after 27 years with the company, based in Bowburn, County Durham.

He will remain as a director, working one day a week, to continue supporting the management team.

Research director Dr Roy Valentine has been appointed chief executive officer and the third co-founder, Stuart Penny, continues as operations director.

In further boardroom changes, HFR has appointed Zoe Lilburn as head of quality, Dr Barry Thompson has been promoted to development manager, Dr Nicola Lembicz becomes research manager and Dr Stella James has been appointed as head of business development.

Mr Redfern co-founded HFR 1988, with the company initially based at the Mountjoy Research Centre in Durham, before a relocation to its current base at Bowburn in 1996. He previously worked as commercial manager at Wendstone Chemicals in Billingham.

He said: “We started with three people and we have just taken on our 27th member of staff in our 27th year, which reflects the growth of the company. Many of our recruits are graduates from North East universities, and we currently sponsor research at Durham and Newcastle universities and have plans to recruit two apprentices this year.

“There are plans for further expansion in line with what our customers want us to do.

“With recent expansion of HFR’s laboratories providing the space for further growth, I believe that it is now a good time for me to step back from day to day involvement in running the company, giving opportunities for existing members of staff to take on greater responsibilities.

“We carry out process development and production of new Active Pharmaceuticals Ingredients (API’s) for use in early clinical trials, working also on drug delivery systems, imaging agents, reagents for diagnostics and advanced materials. A striking feature of the latest innovations in these areas is that Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Medicine and Electronics are converging to give technologies which will have a big impact on our lives. HFR is well positioned for future growth in this fast changing world.”

Dr Valentine began life as a laboratory technician at Ciba Geigy in Manchester and, after a variety of key roles, he went on to set up Wendstone Chemicals in Billingham, where he was appointed research director. He then co-founded HFR along with Mr Redfern and Mr Penny.

Mr Redfern steps down with the company at the forefront of chemical research and development for pharmaceuticals, life sciences and fine chemicals, with prestigious clients from all over the world.

They have just completed further expansion of their headquarters to build new offices, meeting rooms and more laboratories.