One of the West Midlands’ leading business figures has announced she intends to step down from her role later this year.
Louise Bennett will leave her post as chief executive of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce towards the end of 2022 after nearly 20 years leading the organisation.
She joined the chamber in early 2003 following on from a role as director of policy at what is now Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.
During her tenure, she has overseen an expansion of the 118-year-old chamber’s service offering to include business support, international trade services, apprenticeships, commercial training and membership services.
She also played a leading role in securing a local enterprise partnership for Coventry and Warwickshire and in 2007 was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to business and more recently became the Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands.
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In 2021, Ms Bennett was appointed High Sheriff of the County of the West Midlands. The chamber is now working with recruitment agency Addington Ball to find a successor.
Ms Bennett said: “It has been a difficult decision to make, to step away from a job I love and an amazing team of non-executives, directors, managers and staff, but it is time to let someone else take up this fantastic role. I look forward to progressing other interests.
“In my view, businesses will always want local, accessible, relevant and trusted business and learner support and, therefore, the future for chambers of commerce is an evolving and exciting one.”
President Tom Mongan added: “Louise has been a fundamental part of the regional business landscape for the last 19 years and we are very sad that she will be stepping down.
“She has been a crucial part of our region’s development, through her support for inward investment, encouragement of partnership working, facilitation of key introductions and even being a huge advocate for Coventry’s bid to be and now deliver UK City of Culture 2021.
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“Hers will be big shoes to fill but I am excited to see what new opportunities Louise explores next as she has a wealth of experience, knowledge and passion to bring.
“I know she will continue her crusade to support young people to find meaningful and engaging opportunities to ensure they have the best chances in life.”