North tech firm Filtronic appoints McLaren Group heavyweight as new chairman

North tech firm Filtronic has announced it has enlisted senior McLaren Group businessman Jonathan Neale as its new chairman.

The Sedgefield and Leeds business, which designs and makes telecoms kit for the aerospace, defence, telecoms infrastructure and critical communications markets, said that Mr Neale will join the firm as non-executive chairman from November 15.

The announcement comes after existing chairman Reg Gott retired from the NETPark based business at the firm’s AGM last week.

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Mr Neale, who will also be a member of Filtronic’s audit and remuneration committee and chair of the nominations committee, has been with the motorsport leader, known for the manufacture of luxury cars as well as Formula One racing, for the last 20 years.

He has been chief operating officer of McLaren Group for the past five years and before that held a number of executive roles including chief executive officer of McLaren Racing F1, between 2001 to 2016.

Jonathan Neale, who has been appointed as non-executive chairman at Filtronic (Image: Filtronic)

He has occupied principal roles, leading strategic operational and infrastructure planning for the business and has been pivotal in the integration of the McLaren Racing, McLaren Applied and McLaren Automotive businesses.

Before McLaren, Mr Neale had been at BAE Systems, UK, as managing director of Hawk Military Aircraft.

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He started by working as a project design engineer where he led major systems projects for commercial aircraft and was then promoted to director of operations and support operations at BAE’s Manchester and Prestwick sites and was responsible for aircraft production, customer support and pilot training.

Mr Neale – who took part in the Government’s prestigious Top Management Programme working with public and private sector colleagues – then returned to defence systems and aircraft, taking charge of the Hawk Fast Jet Programme as managing director in 1999.

He said: “I have been impressed with the capabilities of the Filtronic organisation and I look forward to working with the board to expand and grow the Filtronic capability from its very solid engineering base into new markets, partnerships and customers.”

Richard Gibbs, chief executive officer, added: “I am delighted to welcome Jonathan to Filtronic, with his extensive aerospace experience and leadership across fast moving technology businesses, and I look forward to working with him as we seek to execute engineering programs and scale the organisation.”

Shares in Filtronic jumped 6% in early trading following the announcement of the appointment.

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Coreena FordChronicle and Journal business writer