As 2012 draws to a close, we reflect on what some of Merseyside’s most influential figures had to say in the Liverpool Post’s series of Big Interviews
Bob Prattey, ACC Liverpool Chief Executive
THE man behind city success story the Echo Arena and BT Convention Centre told David Bartlett about his ambitious plans for the future as he put the finishing touches to a £40m plan to double the size of his empire with a new exhibition hall.
He said: “We have earned our place in the UK associations market, like dentists and physicians. Our next move is into the European and world market.
“I want us to be working on 30 to 40 bids for international or big national conferences a year because some have a lead-in time of 10 to 15 years.”
Jon Murphy, Merseyside Police Chief Constable
MERSEYSIDE’S top cop revealed his force had not been able to recruit a single new officer for nearly two years and spoke of the impact of heavy financial cuts on policing.
He said: “Now the job is about how will we save money, how will we continue to deliver with less people and less money and that is going to remain the case for the full five years of my tenure and possibly beyond that for my successor, given the Autumn Statement of another two years of cuts likely.
“I have spent the vast majority of my life here – with my father here before – and I care passionately about this force, so it may as well be me who has to make these decisions rather than anyone else.”
Peter Johnson, Theatre lover and former Everton FC and Tranmere Rovers owner
A MULTI-MILLIONAIRE who turned his hand to many things, Peter Johnson told reporter Peter Elson about his hopes for the future of Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre.
His charitable trust, the Johnson Foundation, donated £200,000 towards the cost of refurbishing the venue, due for completion in autumn, 2013.
He said: “Liverpool has always had big benefactors from the 19th century on, who built it up to be what we enjoy now. I’m following that tradition. It’s about people as well as bricks and mortar.
“I’m 72 now and time is limited, so the Foundation is to put something back into the community. Not that I’m leaving my business, as I don’t play golf.”
Louise Shepherd, Chief Executive of Alder Hey Hospital
THE hospital boss and mother-of-two talked of the Duchess of Cambridge’s Valentine’s Day visit to Liverpool and how the next few years are hugely important in Alder Hey’s history.
“Alder Hey celebrates 100 years in 2014 – 100 years of fantastic history,” she said. “It has been a pioneer and has innovated across a range of areas.
“We have set out clearly to move from where it is now, in the premiership of hospitals in this country, to be a truly international player. We want to be in the top 10 of international hospitals.”
John Syvret, Chief Executive of Cammell Laird
THE shipyard boss charts the stormy seas Cammell Laird have had to navigate in order to once again be a major player, after so publicly failing in 2001 when the firm went into administration.
He said: “The entire team play their part and it’s only by being a team that we are managing to have some success today. But, obviously, success is not just about what you did today, it’s about what you’re going to go tomorrow.”
Rex Makin, Solicitor
PETER ELSON discovered Liverpool’s most famous lawyer was as sharp as ever in his 87th year, as he gave his views on the week’s news and talked about the contributions he has made to the city over the years.
“It’s not something I want to boast about. It’s about having a job well done,” he said.
“You only pass this way once and it’s only right that you should do what you can. I’m happy that society demands contributions from those that are able to support the public purse.”
Mark Featherstone-Witty, Co-founder of LIPA
THE 65-year-old had just pulled off his latest coup – the £3.7m purchase of John Lennon’s art college building, next door to Paul McCartney and George Harrison’s old grammar school – when he spoke to Ben Turner.
He said: “I don’t feel over the hill and in fact feel like I’m just getting into my stride.
“The wonderful thing is employment law has changed.
“I’m 65 now and you can basically go on. The chance of a lifetime to dream something up and live it, now how often does that happen?
“I will carry on until my performance starts to affect me.”
Claire McColgan, Liverpool Council Culture and Design Director
THE spectacular Sea Odyssey street theatre performance, which told the story of a little girl whose father died on board RMS Titanic, was one of the highlights of the year.
Culture chief Mrs McColgan explained how the piece was chosen. She said: “It was not only too sentimental but too dark for Capital of Culture, so we went with the La Machine spider in 2008.
“But the end of the Titanic centenary seemed the right match.
“For this special anniversary, we didn’t want anything abstract like the spider which was bizarre and bonkers.”
Joe Anderson, Liverpool Mayor
THE Labour leader made history in May, becoming Liverpool’s first-ever elected mayor.
He promised to fight so hard for a good deal for the city that he would “strip the paint off the walls of Whitehall”.
He said: “[London mayor] Boris Johnson has said that he can take the plaster off the ceilings in Whitehall, I can take the paint off the walls and doors speaking up for Liverpool.
“When I supported the case for an elected mayor in Liverpool, it was because I believed that things could be different. I intend to show that things can be different.”
Dave Pichilingi, Sound City CEO
THE chief executive of the music enterprise sat down with the Post to talk about its ever- expanding activities.
The company, well known for running the Sound City festival, had just taken over the Epstein theatre and relaunched it.
Mr Pichilingi also described how the firm plans to expand its events internationally on the back of successful forays into the Middle East, Norway and the USA.
He said: “There are a number of places we are talking to, among them Rio, Bergen and New York.
“And there are places we’ve not talked to yet – places such as Japan, Australia and South Africa. You’ve got to have ambition. And we’re hugely ambitious.”