A FORMER leading business figure in the region has been appointed as vice Lord-Lieutenant to the West Midlands’ Lord-Lieutenant.
Louise Bennett – a former chief executive of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce – will take on the three-year role to assist the Lord-Lieutenant, Sir John Crabtree, carry out his duties.
Louise succeeds Professor Helen Higson whose three-year term included Coventry’s Capital of Culture in in 2021,the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and in saw her champion opportunities for disadvantaged young people.
Louise, whose career has spanned both the private and public sectors including working for the National Health Service and in the retail sector, was appointed a deputy lieutenant for the West Midlands in 2014 and is a trustee of Crimebeat – a charity supported by the High Sheriff Association.
She is also President of Warwickshire College University Centre, a pro bono post she has held since October 2022.
Louise has also held voluntary positions with school, college and university boards, as well as being a career and enterprise adviser in the West Midlands.
And for more than a decade, Louise and her family have fostered several children from the West Midlands.
In 2007, Louise was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list for her services to business.
Louise said: “I am honoured to be appointed vice Lord-Lieutenant and in particular am looking forward to working with the Lord-Lieutenant to continue supporting the communities of the West Midlands.
“I have a particular interest in young people, skills and enterprise and intend to continue the invaluable work of the Lieutenancy to enable more people to benefit from the many opportunities that this great region can offer.”
The Lord-Lieutenant, Sir John Crabtree, added: “I am greatly looking forward to working with Louise whose passion for the West Midlands and its varied communities is evident from her extensive and varied work to date.
“I would also like to thank Professor Higson who has worked incredibly hard during a remarkable period in the West Midlands as we have recovered from the pandemic and welcomed many thousands of visitors to our region whilst engaging with so many different groups.”
The West Midlands Lieutenancy is the second largest lieutenancy in England and Wales, supporting a population of nearly three million people across the seven local authorities of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
The Lord-Lieutenant is The King’s representative for the region and in addition to supporting visits by the Royal Family, has a community role to support initiatives that help the region and to recognise people and organisations that help others.