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Engineer who led business park regeneration retires
A CHARTERED engineer who played a pivotal role in creating the UK’s leading privately owned business park is retiring.
Dr Peter Cook, aged 71, led the regeneration of the former ICI HQ site at The Heath, now home to around 150 businessess, employing more than 1,900 people.
Dr Cook, founder and chairman of SOG Limited, said: “I’m immensely proud of what has been achieved here.
“I’m standing aside at a time when the company is in a very strong position with several exciting new build propjects in the pipeline.
“There were sceptics who doubted the wisdom of taking on 50 skilled workers from ICI, with a final salary pension scheme, to develop our business model. There were many who thought we would not survive.”
He said the ICI technicians and engineers in the research and development team were ‘the gold dust’ who helped to launch the concept and continue to support businesses.
The successful business model, now branded as Fusion, offers advice and regeneration as a consultancy service to other organisations considering down sizing or closing large sites.
SOG managing director, John Lewis said: “We will always be indebted to Peter Cook for having the vision and foresight to see that by combining the facilities and the skilled workfrcoe, we had a unique recipe to attract new businesses to relocate to The Heath.
“It was feared that the closure of the Heath would be absolutely devastating for Runcorn, but under Peter’s leadership, more people are employed herenow than in the halcyon days of ICI.”
Dr Cook, from Chester, who is married to Wendy and has two grown-up sons, is Deputy Lieutenant of Cheshire and chairman of Halton Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise. He is a governor of Heath School in Runcorn.
He will retain an office at The Heath where he plans to run a management consultancy offering advice to other businesses.