Business News

history of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC), has pledged to continue to work hard to champion the needs of “a city region I Iove”. She succeeds Paul Faulkner, who,

Chamber will be at the forefront as H

enrietta Brealey, appointed the youngest chief executive in the 208-year

“It’s been 12 months like no

after six years in the position, is joining the Richardson family businesses. Ms Brealey, aged 30, was recently appointed chief strategy officer following five years as director of policy and strategic relations. Her work at the forefront of the Chamber’s campaigns around Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic has been acclaimed by many stakeholders at regional and national levels and she has also provided in-depth support for Chamber patrons, the top tier of membership. Ms Brealey said: “Paul has been a

fantastic CEO of the Chamber and ambassador for the business community. He leaves big shoes to fill and I look forward to stepping up in April and continuing to drive the organisation, and the support and services we deliver for businesses, ever further forwards.

other. In this critical moment, I look forward to continuing to work with our members and partners across the sectors to both stand up for local businesses’ interests through challenge and change and ensure that they are best positioned to tap into opportunities - locally and globally.

‘It will be a real privilege to lead our talented colleagues here at Team Chamber’

“I love this city region and

working with the businesses that sit at the heart of what makes it such as great place to live, work and do business.It will be a real privilege to lead our talented colleagues here at Team Chamber. This is a proud institution with a long and influential history of being in business for local businesses. I am excited to take up this opportunity to navigate it through this next era.” David Waller, chairman of the

GBCC, said: “We are thrilled to name Henrietta as chief executive

and her energy and drive speaks volumes for the direction the Chamber continues to head. “Business support needs to be at

the cutting edge with views on developments in the structural, strategic and cultural world of today and Henrietta is ideally suited to pick up that broad role. “She will be perfect for

continuing the leadership Paul has developed over the past six years, during which the reach, impact and influence of the Chamber has grown remarkably. I would also like to express the

gratitude of the board, membership, stakeholders and staff for Paul’s magnificent work over the past six years. He has set a firm foundation from which Henrietta and the team at the Chamber will be able to develop further.” GBCC president Steve Allen

added: “This is a richly deserved appointment for Henrietta. She has led the way in providing Chamber support for businesses in her position as chief strategy officer and policy director before that. “Throughout the Covid-19

pandemic and Brexit, she has ensured that informing, practically supporting and giving local

Henrietta Brealey sums up her thoughts as she take over this month from Paul Faulkner as chief executive of the Chamber:

I’m excited and determined as I prepare for my new role.

This region is my home and a

place I’m proud of and passionate about. I find working with businesses endlessly fascinating - the innovation, resilience, creativity and community mindedness of our members is a constant source of motivation. As we emerge into the

new world post- pandemic, the Chamber will be at the forefront of promoting local businesses and supporting them in accessing opportunities both locally and across the globe. And that is an energising prospect. In just the last month we’ve seen

high profile investments announced for Birmingham from the BBC and Department for Transport. The Commonwealth Games is a bright spot on the horizon for catalysing resurgence in our visitor economy


and local pride. HS2, a truly transformative investment for the region and nation, is already driving local jobs and impact. Our Quarterly Business Report for

Q1, our temperature check for regional business sentiment, showed the highest levels of business confidence in increasing turnover since the onset of the pandemic. Across Birmingham, Burton, Cannock, Lichfield, Solihull, Sutton

Coldfield and Tamworth it feels like that light at the end of the tunnel is

getting ever closer. While there’s a lot to be positive

about, we all know that this year is not going to be smooth sailing. In terms of both looking after our brilliant people here at team Chamber as we work through the pandemic and adapting to the ever evolving needs of the business community when so much is still

uncertain - there’s still plenty to navigate. We will continue to work hard to champion the needs of local businesses, particularly those hardest hit by the pandemic and ongoing restrictions. But I know that we’ve got

everything we need right here in the region, not just to get back on track to a strong recovery, but to do it with style. The Chambers’ been in business

for business since 1813. From World Wars to massive industrial shifts, it’s seen it all, and has constantly pivoted and adapted to keep relevant to the needs of local businesses. A constant through the shifting ages. While much of what we do has

changed throughout the years the core concept of the Chamber - that we are stronger (and louder) together than alone remains resolute. I look forward to making my contribution to that legacy.

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