First Mus­lim to lead cham­ber will fo­cus on China and USA

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Tam­lyn Jones Busi­ness Cor­re­spon­dent

BIRM­ING­HAM’S cham­ber of com­merce has ap­pointed its youngest ever pres­i­dent who will also be the first Mus­lim to take up the post.

Saqib Bhatti suc­ceeds in the role at Greater Birm­ing­ham Cham­bers of Com­merce from for­mer Birm­ing­ham Air­port chief Paul Ke­hoe.

At 33, he is the youngest per­son to take on the post in the cham­ber’s 205-year his­tory.

Mr Bhatti is a direc­tor at ac­coun­tancy firm You­nis Bhatti & Com­pany and grad­u­ated from the Lon­don School of Eco­nom­ics in 2007.

He was a mem­ber of the then In­sti­tute of Asian Busi­nesses and be­came its pres­i­dent for four years and is now a direc­tor of both the Greater Birm­ing­ham and Soli­hull Lo­cal En­ter­prise Part­ner­ship and West­side Busi­ness Im­prove­ment Dis­trict.

Mr Bhatti is also a se­nior pol­icy ad­viser to the Al­liance of Con­ser­va­tives and Re­formists in Europe.

He said he planned to fo­cus on two themes dur­ing his two-year ten­ure as pres­i­dent of the cham­ber.

“As a re­gion, we have a trade sur­plus with China and the United States,” he said.

“Our small and medium busi­nesses, how­ever, are still not ex­port­ing enough and the op­por­tu­ni­ties are out there. I be­lieve we are best po­si­tioned to start ad­dress­ing the gap.

“My sec­ond fo­cus will be to cham­pion the con­tri­bu­tion that our busi­nesses make to the econ­omy and to so­ci­ety. Busi­nesses can be and are a force for good.

“Too often, how­ever, we are over­looked or worse, vil­i­fied as a com­mu­nity when some­thing goes wrong with a mi­nor­ity.

“As the new pres­i­dent, I am de­ter­mined to en­sure that our lead­ers and pol­icy mak­ers recog­nise the im­mense con­tri­bu­tion that our 3,000-strong mem­ber­ship make to the econ­omy and to not take us for granted.”

Mr Bhatti will start his pres­i­dency at the cham­ber’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing on Fri­day.

Re­flect­ing on the past year, chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Faulkner said: “I am de­lighted that we have again recorded a strong fi­nan­cial per­for­mance for the 2017/2018 fi­nan­cial year.

“The cham­ber con­tin­ues to make sur­pluses suf­fi­cient to ful­fil our pen­sion fund obli­ga­tions and in­crease our rev­enue re­serves.

“And this has al­lowed im­prove mem­ber ser­vices our in­vest­ment plan.

“We have de­lib­er­ately re­or­gan­ised our op­er­a­tions so that we could de­risk the busi­ness go­ing for­ward by cre­at­ing in­come streams that are less de­pen­dent on any sin­gle el­e­ment of the busi­ness.” us to through

> Cham­ber chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Faulkner (right) with Saqib Bhatti

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.