Article date – 28 August 2018

The Economy Board’s newest members will help to develop and implement the most effective investment, business and development strategies and programmes for the years ahead.

The new members are Hazel James, Owner and Managing Director for Brendon International Ltd, and Dr Marnie Millard OBE, Group Chief Executive for Nichols PLC – the home of Vimto.

Hazel James (pictured below, centre), who was born and educated in Carlisle, moved to Warrington in 1983. She joined Brendon International Ltd – an export packing and freight forwarding company – in 2000 as member of their finance team. At the time, the business was operating from a small warehouse in Warrington, before moving to a purpose built facility in St Helens on the Sankey Valley Industrial Estate in late 2000.

Hazel rose through the ranks, being appointed to the company’s Board of Directors in 2002, and becoming Managing Director in 2004. In 2008, Hazel bought the company’s entire shares, becoming the sole owner. She persevered through and indeed thrived following the global financial crash in 2008. Today, Brendon International Ltd stands firm with a strong team as a market leader.

Hazel said: “I am proud to be part of the St Helens Economy Board. St Helens is a great place for both small and large businesses to succeed.”

Marnie Millard (pictured below, right) is the Group Chief Executive for Nichols PLC, the home of Vimto, a soft drink that was established in 1908 by John Joel Nichols which today has a retail brand value of £76 million.

Marnie joined the company in 2012 as Managing Director of the UK Soft Drinks Division, and was appointed to her current role in 2013, having held prior roles at Refresco Gerber and Macaw Soft Drinks.

As well as her executive responsibilities, Marnie is a Non-Executive Director for Finsbury Foods and is the Chair for the North West Region of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). She’s also a member of the Management Board for British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA), and was recently appointed as an advisor to the Board of Trade.

Marnie was this year awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for her services to International Trade and Businesses in North West England.

Marnie said: “I am very pleased to be joining the St Helens Economy Board representing Nichols PLC. It is important as a large local business to be involved and consulted in the discussion and decision-making regarding investment and development in our local region.”

Eamonn McManus (pictured), Chair of both St Helens RFC and the St Helens Economy Board, said:

“The prime objective of the new economic strategy for St Helens is to confidently and clearly expound the assets and advantages which the town currently possesses, and to complement and grow these with the realisation of investment, business, employment and population growth in the decade ahead.

“I sincerely welcome our new board members. Their abundant experience and business acumen will help us to drive this strategy forward, for the benefit of local people, businesses and the economy.”

The creation of the Economy Board preceded the start of a second parallel initiative called St Helens Ambassadors, which has been successful in creating a strong and cohesive network for local businesses, with over 100 signing up to the programme in the first year. The model is based on similar successful schemes including the Burnley Bondholders programme.

Find out more at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here