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New joint CEO announced for MPQC and IQ

L-R: Viv Russell with James Thorne, who will become the new joint CEO for MPQC and IQ on 1 December 2023 L-R: Viv Russell with James Thorne, who will become the new joint CEO for MPQC and IQ on 1 December 2023

James Thorne to take on new joint role; Viv Russell standing down and retiring at year end 

A NEW joint chief executive officer (CEO) has been announced for the Mineral Products Qualifications Council (MPQC) and The Institute of Quarrying (IQ), further reinforcing the long-standing collaboration between the two membership organizations.

James Thorne, current IQ CEO, assumes the new joint role on 1 December 2023. Viv Russell, incumbent MPQC CEO, is standing down following a health scare earlier this year and will retire at the end of the year.


Mr Russell explained: ‘This new joint CEO role is a natural extension of the strong bond between the two organizations, having worked collaboratively on behalf of the mineral products sector now for some time.

‘On a personal level, I have worked closely with James, particularly in my role as IQ President. He has the leadership and vision to take MPQC and IQ to the next level and I wish him every success.’

James Thorne said: ‘This is a wonderful opportunity and I am grateful for the trust the MPQC board has placed in me in creating the joint CEO role. The benefit to the industry will be a unified voice on matters relating to skills, standards, and professional development for a competent workforce.’

Clare Mayo, chair of the MPQC board, said: ‘The MPQC board would like to thank Viv for his leadership and management of MPQC over the last 18 months. Under his stewardship, Viv has sought to bring a focus on the value of collaboration and co-ordination, involving key industry stakeholders, positively enhancing our Minerals Matter, MP Awards, MP Skills, and MP Connect strategies.’

Ben Williams, chair of the IQ board, continued: ‘Both IQ and MPQC have proud histories of developing industry-relevant education and professional development pathways aimed at raising standards and fulfilling the extractive sector’s need for a safe, competent, and sustainable workforce. With so many crossover areas of interest, and the ongoing progress of our plans at the National Stone Centre, having James in a joint CEO role will enable us to continue to deliver value to our respective members and the sector as a whole.’

MPQC and IQ signed a memorandum of understanding in 2022 to work together to increase the value of membership services within the mineral products sector and further develop partnerships with other sectors, industries, and government bodies. This closer collaboration underlines the vision for the National Stone Centre (NSC) in creating an international centre of excellence for the mineral products industry.

Continuity for MPQC staff, clients, and members will be assured as Viv Russell becomes part of the MPQC board to provide guidance and support Mr Thorne in his role as joint CEO. Members of both MPQC and IQ will benefit through the collective resources of both organizations in establishing the NSC as the focal point for skills, knowledge, and training for the sector. Through Minerals Matter it will also become a focal point for raising awareness of the impact and importance of the sector to visitors.

Minerals Matter is the wider cross-industry collaboration looking at the knowledge, skills, and competence that the sector will need to address the sustainability and technological challenges that the mineral products industry faces.

Established in 1983, the Mineral Products Qualifications Council is a ‘not-for-profit’ membership organization whose purpose is to fulfil the extractive sector’s need for a safe, competent, and sustainable workforce through the setting and maintaining of standards and qualifications, ensuring quality training and assessment. Visit:

The Institute of Quarrying is the professional membership body for quarrying and the related mineral products extractive and processing industries, with a worldwide membership of more than 5,500 individuals. Visit:


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