Mr Pickles will work alongside regional chair Delroy Beverley to support directors across a region that stretches from Northumberland to Sheffield.
He started his career in the chemicals industry with ICI, later moving to Zeneca to launch and scale-up meat alternative brand Quorn. He spent 13 years with Sensient Technologies, working in the UK, US and Asia, where he acquired and integrated companies, built new factories and grew sales at its global Flavors and Fragrances Group from US$600m to US$800m.
On retirement, Mr Pickles was invited to chair and invest in several early-stage companies. He is a director of, and chairs, the audit committee at Outwood Grange Multi-Academy Trust.
He said: “The IoD has a key role to play in developing the directors of the future who will lead their organisations through this changing world of new methods of production, new legislation, environmental and societal challenges and, as we have seen during the pandemic, rapid changes in ways of working and how organisations interact.”