LONG-SERVING chief executive Jerry Blackett is to leave Solihull and Birmingham Chamber of Commerce after nine years at the helm of the business organisation.
In a surprise announcement, Mr Blackett said he was standing down at the end of June next year to take a ‘gap year’ of travel, reading, writing and exercise.
The 58-year-old joined the Chamber in 2003 as policy director before succeeding Sue Battle as chief executive in June, 2006. He said he had no firm plans for the future.
Over the past 11 years the Chamber has seen Government funding for most local business support evaporate and, like every other business, have to cope with the years that followed the 2008 recession.
Mr Blackett said: “I have been so fortunate to have worked with a fabulous team. The Chamber employs some of the most committed and talented people any business could wish for.
“To this day, we continue to partner skilfully with civic, voluntary, education and faith leaders so that between us we build an environment within which all citizens can thrive.
“The Chamber flies a flag for business but none of us can do the job on our own.”
David Waller, chairman of the said he Chamber is in great shape with strong financial foundations and because of the strength of the membership – and in particular, the largest senior membership of any organisation outside of London – they are first-choice choice for local partners wishing to engage meaningfully with the private sector.
Mr Blackett’s replacement has yet to be decided.