Our Members

Rt Hon. Jack Straw

The Rt Hon. Jack Straw has enjoyed an esteemed political career and has close ties with Blackburn, where TET was initially founded, having served as the town’s MP for over 35 years.

Jack qualified as a barrister in the early 1970s, practicing criminal law for 2 years before he made the transition to politics. He initially served as a member of the Shadow Cabinet, where he was appointed to a number of high-profile roles, including the Opposition Spokesman on Education, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, and Shadow Home Secretary.

When the Labour Party came in to power in 1997 under the leadership of Tony Blair, Jack was already well-versed in the roles and responsibilities of being Home Secretary, and was the natural choice to take up the mantle. During his four years in office, he oversaw the introduction of the Freedom of Information Act and the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into British law.

In 2001, Jack was appointed to the role of Foreign Secretary, a role he held until 2006. He played a leading role in shaping foreign policy and facilitating international relations.

Jack continued to play a pivotal role in the Labour Party, becoming Leader of the House of Commons from 2006-2007, and then Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice from 2007 to 2010. He was the first Lord Chancellor since the 16th century to serve in the role whilst a member of the House of Commons.

Jack retired from front-bench politics in 2010, but remains a staunch believer in the transformative power of education and an influential advocate for young people. He is a Visiting Professor at the University College London School of Public Policy, the Governor of Blackburn College and, from May 2015, has been Chairman of the Blackburn Youth Zone.

Appointed: December 2016

Kamruddin Kothia (Chair)

With a strong background in telecommunications, Kam established eBusiness UK Ltd in 1998 to supply e-commerce, e-marketing and website design solutions to SMEs in the North West. eBusiness UK is now renowned as one of Lancashire’s premier digital agencies. It specialises in helping businesses generate great investment returns from their online channels. With over a dozen years of frontline digital experience, eBusiness UK has delivered over 300 online solutions and won numerous awards along the way.

Kam is currently the Chair of Governors at Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Tauheedul Education Trust and Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire. His previous commitments have included being a Director of Business Link, Vice Chairman and Director of the Asian Business Federation and a Director of the East Lancashire Partnership. Kam was also a founding member and Chair of the North West Development Agency’s North West Ethnic Minority Business Forum, and also played an integral role in establishing the Department for Trade and Industry’s Ministerial Ethnic Minority Business Forum.

Appointed: August 2010

Harry Catherall

Harry was appointed as Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council in September 2012. An accountant by profession, Harry’s career in local government spans more than three decades. He started as a 16-year-old modern apprentice at Tameside Council and then subsequently left to join the Audit Commission, before moving to Stockport and becoming a Head of Service. He joined Blackburn with Darwen Council in 1997 as it prepared for unitary status, moving from social services to become a member of the Corporate Management Team, where he served as Deputy Chief Executive before his promotion to CEO.

Harry has been responsible for delivering nationally-recognised health integration, including pioneering a free leisure initiative, and he also managed the multi-million pound Building Schools for the Future programme. He oversaw the Council’s initial transformation and downsizing programme, responding creatively to a £40m reduction in funding. His vision is to see significant progress in outcomes for children, young people and the local community, and he believes a quality infrastructure is instrumental to having a positive impact for residents of the Borough, including a higher standard of education, increased income levels, better standards of health and more job opportunities.

Appointed: June 2014

Faruk Dasu

Faruk has worked in Further Education and in the private sector. He has been involved in the pharmaceutical industry for several years, working for multinational companies including Daichi Sankyo, Sanofi Aventis and Novonordisk in various sales, marketing and training positions. He is currently employed as a key account manager for a Spanish-based pharmaceutical company called Almirall. Earlier in his career, he operated as a degree-level Curriculum Manager and Departmental Head in the Further Education sector.

Faruk has chaired a number of school Governing Bodies and is currently the Chair of Governors at the Olive School, Blackburn.

Appointed: August 2010

Mohamed Isap

Mo Is Group Strategy Director at Hobs PLC. With over 30 operations across the UK, Hobs are the country’s largest provider of 3D technology. As part of the Group Board, Mo leads the development of business strategy and innovation across a global market including new ventures, acquisition and market development. Mo established MPG in 1997, and it rapidly grew into the North West’s largest independent digital print company, listed in the Financial Times 100 fast-track companies. The business was sold in 2013. Mo has also founded Business Plus and Create Plus as Social Enterprises, harnessing the talents of the business community to serve charitable causes.

Mo is a trained Accountant, has an MBA, and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management.

Mo is Chair of Blackburn with Darwen’s Local Strategic Partnership, the town’s largest and most influential partnership body, which is made up of representatives from the public sector, local business and the faith, community and voluntary sector. Mo has previously been a non-executive Director of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and, for six years, served on the Department for Trade and Industry’s Ethnic Minority Business Forum. He was instrumental in bringing a significant amount of national funding into the region to support business and entrepreneurship. He has been on the Corporation Board at Blackburn College for 6 years and was the Chair of Governors at Wensley Fold Church of England School for 8 years. He is currently the Chair of Governors for Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School.

Appointed: August 2010

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