The CEO of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has announced she intends to step down from her role later this year.
Louise Bennett OBE DL will leave her post as chief executive of the Chamber towards the end of 2022 after nearly 20 years leading the organisation.
President Tom Mongan said: “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 as our chief executive towards the end of 2022.
“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.
“On a personal note, 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.
“So, whilst we will have her with us for a little while longer, my best wishes and sincere thanks go to Louise for her leadership and friendship for the future.
“As one would expect, Louise is absolutely committed to ensuring a smooth transition to her successor, who has not yet been selected, and has every faith that a new chief executive will have the support of the hard working, highly competent and professional team at the Chamber of Commerce Group.”
The Chamber is now working with executive recruitment search agency, Addington Ball, to find a successor for Louise.
Louise joined the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber in 2003 following on from a role as director of policy at the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.
During her 19 years with the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Louise has overseen the continued success of the 118-year-old organisation making it the leading voice for business in the region and expanding its offer to business to include business support, international trade services, apprenticeships, commercial training and membership services.
Over the past two years, she has helped steer the Chamber – and the wider regional business community – through the Covid-19 pandemic, speaking out on the support needed for firms and working with the local authorities to ensure it was delivered effectively.
Louise also played a leading role in securing a Local Enterprise Partnership for Coventry and Warwickshire.
In 2007, she 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. In 2021, Louise was appointed High Sheriff of the County of the West Midlands.
She 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.
“The success of the Chamber is wholly due to its team of staff, an eminent board of directors, and the true and trusted collaboration we have with partner organisations and, of course, with our clients.
“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.”