Leading business figure to stand down after 20 years

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 the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce 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.”

Bennett 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, she 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.

She also played a leading role in securing a Local Enterprise Partnership for Coventry and Warwickshire.

In 2007, Bennett 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, Bennett 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 and 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.”

The Chamber is now working with executive recruitment search agency Addington Ball to find a successor.