Hedgehog Lab appoints Bob Paton as a non-executive director

Fast-growing Newcastle-based app designer and developer Hedgehog Lab has appointed a high-profile North East businessman as a non-executive director.

Bob Paton, who retired as MD of Accenture’s Newcastle Delivery Centre in July and was interim chief executive of the North East LEP in 2015, will work as an advisor to the Newcastle company’s board and senior management team, focusing on scaling the business while boosting skills and development training.

The appointment comes as the firm prepares to report 160% year-on-year revenue growth for 2016, while headcount has risen from 30 to 87 in 10 months.

CEO Sarat Pediredla commented: “We’ve grown from being a micro-business into a fully-fledged SME.

“Hence, we’ve moved beyond the ‘founder-manager’ structure – and, with a growing senior management team, it’s imperative we have strong corporate governance and support.

“Bob’s credentials are unparalleled, as, through his leadership, Accenture grew its Newcastle operations into a business employing more than 650 people.

“He’s also hugely passionate about skills, employability and making the North East a technology leader – which fits in perfectly with our needs.”

A co-founder of Dynamo North East, Bob Paton last year won the Outstanding Contribution to the Profession accolade at the UK IT Industry Awards, and was given a CBE for his contribution to skills and apprenticeships in the region.

Mr Paton also sits on the board of governors at several educational establishments, including the new North East Futures UTC, and is a non-executive chairman at RTC North in Sunderland.

He said: “I’ve watched the company from afar for a while and every time I’ve met Sarat I’ve been impressed by his drive and vision.

“Hedgehog Lab wants to expand, and since I’ve overseen the creation and growth of Accenture’s Newcastle Delivery Centre, I want to pass on the knowledge, insight and lessons learned from that experience.”

Hedgehog Lab builds apps for smartphones, tablets, wearables and similar devices.

In 2017, the company – which also has offices in London, Boston, Austin and India – is looking to expand its US presence, grow in Europe and explore new markets.

On top of Mr Paton’s appointment, it will be hiring a new finance director in January.

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