Leading South Cumbrian businessman has been appointed as the branch chair of the Institute of Directors in the county.

The multi-award-winning business leader Barry Leahey MBE, managing director of Playdale Playgrounds, has been named as the successor of Chris Ward, who has stepped down after completion of his tenure.

Mr Leahey, frequently invited to work as a mentor for Department of International Trade to help develop export opportunities for North West businesses, said: “I am really excited at the prospect of leading the Institute of Directors Cumbrian branch at this interesting time and assisting directors of businesses large and small across the county.

"I look forward to promoting the Institute of Directors as a powerful platform to communicate the matters that affect our region, both now and into the future."

Claire Ebrey, regional director for the North West and Isle of Man said: "“Barry has contributed significantly to the institute in the region since becoming a member.

"Deservedly recognised as the Institute of Directors' Global Director of the Year at our North West awards in 2018, he embodies the entrepreneurial ambition that our region is proud to celebrate.

"We are delighted that he will be playing such a pivotal role within the development of the Cumbrian branch over the next few years.”

The organisation has 2,000 members and has also announced that it will continue to work with Rathbone Investment Management to organise events in Cumbria during the year, including the annual Windermere cruise in July and the Too Poor to Retire seminar in June.

Richard Dawson, managing director of Rathbones Kendal, said: “We’re pleased to renew our partnership with IoD. Their support for local businesses is a good match for our commitment to contributing to our community and we’re very much looking forward to supporting the 2019 programme.”