Rowena Burns is to depart from her positions as chair of Manchester Science Partnerships and non-executive director at Bruntwood.
Burns, who is to remain in her role as chair of Health Innovation Manchester, joined Bruntwood as chief operating officer in early 2008, leaving her position as commercial director at Manchester Airports Group.
From 2013 she was instrumental in the advancement of Manchester Science Partnerships, the organisation that brings together Manchester City Council, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, the city’s two universities, Salford City Council, Cheshire East Council and Bruntwood SciTech – Bruntwood having acquired a controlling interest in Manchester Science Parks in 2012.
As chief executive and then chair of MSP, Burns led on the expansion of the original science parks campus and the establishment of the Citylabs campus in partnership with the NHS trust, including the securing of Qiagen’s R&D hub at the site.
This work sat alongside other roles, including two years chairing Cityco, establishing the Oxford Road Corridor Enterprise Zone and working on the CityVerve Internet of Things smart city demonstrator.
Burns was also a founding partner in Health Innovation Manchester, a new county-wide partnership dedicated to accelerating the introduction of innovations which would help to transform the health of Greater Manchester’s citizens. She is now chair of the partnership, a role in which she “will continue to focus on driving the growth and success of the regional health economy”.
Chris Oglesby, chief executive of Bruntwood and executive chair at Bruntwood SciTech, will reassume his former role chairing MSP.
He said: “When Rowena joined Bruntwood it was with the ultimate aim that she would stay for three years before taking up non-exec roles in the NHS. While she’s done the latter, we also managed to keep her for much longer! This speaks to the profound impact she has had on both me, our businesses and Manchester.
“In assuming her role at Manchester Science Partnerships, she grasped the opportunity with both hands and built the foundations of what it has become today.
“Her legacy at Bruntwood is equally transformative – her belief in partnership, collaboration, diversity and inclusion and community engagement. She can take credit for the fact that today we are a business led by a number of formidable female leaders. It’s not a goodbye: she remains a valued colleague and will no doubt be a key partner going forward.”
Burns added of her time with MSP: “I completely fell in love with the brave entrepreneurs we support, and the amazing and important things they do.
“For me, this feels the right time to move on from Manchester Science Partnerships, but with my role at Health Innovation Manchester and my wider life in the city region, I don’t feel I am moving far away at all.”