A NEW president is taking over at the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce.

Ben Mannion, who is director of Hewett Recruitment, will take over after Mike Forrester completes his presidential term.

Mr Mannion started his recruitment career in Birmingham before joining Hewett in 2009, becoming a director in 2013.

He is also chair of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Future Skills Board, sits on the LEP’s Employment and Skills Board and is also a Worcestershire Ambassador.

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He said: “I am honoured to be taking over the position of president with Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, picking up on the excellent work of Mike Forrester.

“Hewett Recruitment are longstanding supporters of the Chamber and the fantastic work they do and now – perhaps more than ever – there is a need for the local business community to work together to overcome the challenging times we face.

“The Chamber has a key role to play in this – I look forward to getting to work with Sharon and the team.”

During his two year term, Mr Forrester drew on his experiences in the food industry, running manufacturing businesses and heading up international sales and commercial development to help the Chamber.

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Sharon Smith, CEO of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We look forward to welcoming Ben to this position, given his particular expertise in the local skills agenda and labour market expertise and wish him the best luck in this new role.

“We are also delighted to welcome Chris Walklett as the new Chair of the Worcestershire Area Council and look forward to his support in developing economic development within the two counties from his position within the Area Council.

“Finally, I would like to express our thanks to outgoing President Mike, who has brought to the table his fantastic expertise on a number of matters from his years of experience.”

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In addition, the Chamber is welcoming Chris Walklett, Tax Partner, at Bishop Fleming, who will be joining as the Chair of the Worcestershire Area Council.

Mr Walklett is Tax lead for Bishop Fleming’s West Midlands office and Head of Bishop Fleming’s international tax and advisory services after 23 years’ experience in the sector.

He is one of the UK’s leading R&D tax credit advisors and an accredited expert witness who is also a director of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and is heavily involved with Malvern Hills Science Park, in his role as non-exec director, and advisory board member and founder of Worcestershire’s BetaDen Tech Incubator.