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‘Gobsmacked’ former newspaper MD awarded MBE in New Year’s Honours

Bob CuffeA former regional newspaper managing director says he is “humbled and gobsmacked” after being awarded the MBE in the New Year’s Honours list.

Bob Cuffe, who served as MD for Trinity Mirror’s North-East region in two spells before being made redundant a second time last year, has been granted the honour for services to business and economic development on Teesside.

Since leaving TM, now known as Reach plc, he has taken up several non-executive director and advisory roles in the North-East of England.

Bob, pictured, initially served as TM’s Teesside MD from 2007 to 2011, and then took on responsibility for the wider North-East region until his role was axed in 2012. He returned as MD in Middlesbrough in 2014, regaining his region-wide responsibilities in 2016.

Speaking to the Teesside Gazette’s online arm Teesside Live, Bob dedicated the award to his late parents Olive and George and added he was “very humbled and gobsmacked” by the honour.

He said: “It’s strange that at the age of 58, my first thought was back to my roots with mam and dad, but I know how proud they’d have been.

“If I’m defined by anything in my career, I’m immensely proud to have been associated with The Gazette – not just a commentator on events but an active participant in the outcomes.

“The Gazette was a prime mover and I was proud to be a part of that.”

He added: “Most of the stuff I did externally when I was with The Gazette was about the regeneration of Teesside.

“I’ve always fought back against our innate Teesside pessimism. I’d hear ‘oh, there’s no jobs on Teesside’ and that ‘it’s not a good place be raised in’ but that was a default setting I’ve never agreed with.

“Some council leaders and politicians have, throughout my working life, by and large talked the area down. The business community has always been the most optimistic and The Gazette has been an important part of that, getting the hopes and aspirations of business out there.

“I don’t care about political parties. When Lord Heseltine was involved after the steelworks closed, I asked him ‘why are you here?’. He replied ‘Because I want to help’ and I thought, ‘that’s good enough for me’. If anyone wants to support Teesside, I’m quite happy to be their friend.”

Bob has been married to wife Linda for 36 years and is father to sons Christopher, 28, Liam, 26, and Kieran, 22.


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  • January 2, 2019 at 11:15 am

    Well deserved, and one in the eye for Bob’s former bosses who inexplicably made him redundant twice over. I worked with Bob in Teesside in the early/mid 2000s when he was ad manager, and he was a power to the Gazette throughout my time there. A real face in the business community for the title, and seen by all external contacts as a major strength of the business. I can only imagine he would have been even more so when managing director. Good luck with the new careers, Bob.

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  • January 2, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    Nothing like taking someone else’s good news and using it for your own agenda ay Steve?

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