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From Coal Board to mortar board

Date 10 Dec 2007

A man whose roots inspired him to create over a thousand jobs for the North East is to be awarded an Honorary Degree by Northumbria University. John Clough, Chief Executive of energy efficiency provider, will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law at a ceremony this afternoon.

Mr Clough has taken eaga from a zero base to a FTSE 250 company employing over 4,000 people across the UK and, at the same time, helped lift millions of people out of fuel poverty.

A miner's son born and bred in Bedlington, Northumberland, John was the first in his family to go to university. He graduated from Newcastle University with First Class Honours in Chemistry and joined British Coal's graduate recruitment programme.

Despite being made Operations Manager at Monkton Cokeworks and turning around the mine's fortunes, British Coal announced its closure. After having to put 300 men on the dole John vowed to create as many jobs in the North East in the future.

When the opportunity came to set up and run an energy efficiency agency that would deliver help to some of the most vulnerable people in society, he took it and eaga was established in Newcastle in 1990. When the government introduced a new competitive marketplace in 2000, John restructured eaga into an employee-owned partnership. Just over a decade after its formation, he exceeded his original goal of creating 300 new jobs in the North East.

eaga now employs around 4000 people, with over 1000 of them in the North East.

Professor Kel Fidler, Vice Chancellor of Northumbria University said: "Awarded the MBE in 1994, John Clough is one of the North East's true success stories. He is an inspirational role model for the business leaders of tomorrow and a shining example to our graduates today."

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