Paul Sewell’s biography

Paul Sewell built networks from the outset, through school and particularly sport. He failed his eleven-plus but excelled at football, playing for Hull City’s youth sides and harbouring realistic hopes of a professional career until injury intervened.

The option of following his father into the fruit trade didn’t appeal and, after getting back on track with his studies, Paul gained a first in his BSc Building course at Leeds.

After graduation, he worked for a national concern and then joined the unrelated family firm of F Sewell & Son (Hull) Ltd. He helped to turn it into a multi-disciplined group which delivered transformational schemes in education, health and culture for its home city and evolved to provide a complete estates service and bring into play nationally significant projects.

Paul participated in Common Purpose, he served as President of the Chamber of Commerce and he led in new business organisations including the Bondholders, Humber LEP and For Entrepreneurs Only.
He brought the Yorkshire International Business Convention (YIBC) to Hull and founded Humber Business Week in 2005.

Paul won the IoD’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and was granted an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Hull in 2010. He was honoured by the Queen with an OBE for services to Business and the Community in 2011.

His commitment to developing people and his interest in talent management and leadership brought numerous awards for the company’s 500 people. Sewell Group became a serial winner in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For and was awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2021 for Promoting Opportunity

In 2019, the Sewell Group joined forces with Rt Hon Justine Greening MP to become a Social Mobility Pledge Accredited Employer, leading the way in creating opportunities for people to progress, regardless of their personal circumstances or background. A mission that Paul still champions today through his belief that business can be a force for good.

Sewell on the go, now run by Paul’s son, Patrick, was named UK Forecourt Retailer of the year in 2009 and 2016.

In 2023, Paul transferred 25% of his shares into an employee ownership trust, to make almost 300 people across the group’s estates businesses co-owners. A move which has secured the long term sustainability and culture of the business he’s grown over many years.

Paul is now supporting a strong management team as they take the Group forward, whilst he also helps young entrepreneurs and various organisations build their own businesses.

More recently, he’s worked alongside local rugby league team, Hull Kingston Rovers, to introduce new governance arrangements and a new strategic long term plan, which included help to bring in a new board, which he now chairs, to develop a top flight club that’s fit for the future.

His memoir, “Half a Lettuce”, was published in May 2020 to wide acclaim.