The head of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce is leaving the organisation to join the company which built the Merry Hill centre.
Paul Faulkner was the youngest ever chief executive appointed to the role when he joined the chamber in summer 2015 but is now stepping down to join the Richardson family as its chief of staff and operations.
The developer famously built the Merry Hill centre in Dudley in the 1980s to create one of the largest shopping centres and retail destinations in the UK.
Mr Faulkner, who was previously chief executive of both Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest football clubs, will work within the group of businesses owned by the Richardson family and is due to commence in the role later this year.
During his tenure as chamber chief executive, he has been an outspoken and passionate advocate for the city region’s business community, none more so than since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the campaigns he has worked on are Keep Business Moving during the pandemic and a programme to help exporters cope with the changes brought about by Brexit.
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In 2017, the Greater Birmingham Commonwealth Chamber was launched as the region gears up to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games and he also recently led a £4.75 million buyout deal of Chamber of Commerce House.
The sale and leaseback of the chamber’s head office in Edgbaston to Mercia Real Estate has helped to secure its long-term future.
He said: “I’m very sad to be leaving the brilliant team at the chamber although equally excited by this next chapter in my own career.
“As a business support organisation, the chamber is absolutely second to none and I am proud to have led its development since June 2015, working alongside a host of fantastic individuals.
“The chamber has led the way in supporting our members through some challenging times recently, not the least of which are the struggles all businesses are experiencing in the covid-19 crisis.
“We have influenced government and council policies to the benefit of all businesses and supported them as we went through the agonising process of leaving the European Union.
“Throughout, we have managed to maintain membership levels, all supported by a tremendous team. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at the chamber.”
Referring to his new role, he added: “I’ve long championed and believed the West Midlands’ business community contains some of the most entrepreneurial and innovative businesses in the world and this will be an exciting opportunity to explore that further.”
The Richardson family business was founded by Roy Richardson and his late brother Don more than 70 years ago in Oldbury.
The family now operates international real estate and private equity firms which have been run for the past 20 years by brothers Martyn, Lee and Carl Richardson.
Carl added: “We are always looking to work with excellent people to further expand our family interests, Paul more than fits that bill. We are very pleased to welcome him on board as part of the senior team.”