GREATER Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) has made three new appointments to its board – including a new vice president.
Saqib Bhatti, who has served as president of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce for the last four years, is to become the vice president of Birmingham Chamber.
He will be joined on the board by Steve Allen, head of the Birmingham office of law firm Mills & Reeve, and Liz McKenzie of financial services firm Wesleyan.
Saqib is a director at Younis Bhatti & Co Chartered Accountants. Among other interests, he is also a director of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) with responsibilities for promoting diversity and business support, and joint Secretary General of Muslims for Britain, a non-partisan campaign group set up to engage British Muslims in national debates.
He has also worked with a number of charities in Pakistan and locally, where he is a trustee of the Lord Mayor’s Charity in Birmingham.
Saqib said: “It is a great honour to be the new vice president for the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce. I follow in the footsteps of many great people and I look forward to working with the board.
“This is a really exciting time for the region and the Chamber is essential to the future development and success of the region. I look forward to serving our members and helping to guide that journey.”
Steve is former winner of the Birmingham Law Society’s ‘International Solicitor of the Year’ award and is recognised in both the Chambers UK and Legal 500 UK as a ‘Leading Lawyer’ specialising in commercial litigation.
He is also the chairman of the New York-headquartered British American Business Council, which has 22 chapters in the UK, USA and Canada.
Steve said: “I’m delighted to have joined the Chamber board. From working with the city-region’s burgeoning SME community to large corporates, the Chamber’s mission to connect, support and grow all local businesses has never been more pertinent.
“I particularly look forward to working with its diverse mix of members to explore and develop new markets and opportunities for their businesses.”
Liz is the chief operating officer of financial services firm Wesleyan in Birmingham.
She joined Wesleyan in October 2010 as head of corporate planning. Prior to this she spent 19 years at Toyota in a variety of roles in production control and manufacturing.
In 2015 Liz was appointed chief operating officer with responsibility for Wesleyan Financial Services, General Insurance, Practice Plan, Life & Pensions, the Transformation and operational excellence functions and IT.
She is also chair of DPAS, which was acquired by Wesleyan in 2015. In June 2016, Liz won the IoD West Midlands Director of the Year Award for a Large Business.
She said: “The Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce has a long history of putting the needs of local businesses first and giving its members a collective voice both locally and further afield.
“I am delighted to have been appointed to the board and look forward to helping the Chamber deliver its ambitious plans on behalf of members and patrons alike.”