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Business & Economy

John McCabe named new North East England Chamber of Commerce chief executive

The region’s largest business membership organisation has appointed a new chief executive.

The North East England Chamber of Commerce has welcomed John McCabe to the role.

He will take over in early October, replacing the departing James Ramsbotham, who is leaving to become board chair at Newcastle Building Society after 15 years in post.

A former Chamber president, John says he is “absolutely delighted to be joining a great team, doing such important work for our region”. 

He said: “Our members will always be at the heart of everything the Chamber does, and I will be immensely proud to be their advocate and champion at home and internationally.

“Together, we can build a stronger North East on the foundations of a fairer, more sustainable and inclusive economy.

“The North East has been hard hit by the pandemic and many of our members are continuing to experience great difficulty as a consequence of exiting the European Union.

“We must do all we can to shape a future that enables our incredible businesses to flourish and achieve their full potential.

“I also hope we can work with the Government to deliver a levelling up agenda that has a focus on people and opportunity as well as on critical investment in infrastructure,” added John, who, eight-and-half years ago, founded Blyth-based Fusion PR Creative.

He also praised the influence of James [pictured below] over the last decade-and-a-half, saying his “immense contribution to the North East” will not be forgotten.

“It’s a privilege to succeed James, who has worked tirelessly on behalf of Chamber members,” said John, who counts time in PR with Northumbrian Water alongside communications roles with Transco and Newcastle Building Society and a period as corporate affairs director at Alcan on his CV.

“I have the highest admiration for him, and I am delighted he will remain in an influential position in the region during his tenure as chair of Newcastle Building Society, which is a great and longstanding Chamber member. 

“It will be a wrench to leave Fusion, having launched the business eight-and-a-half years ago,” added John, who previously stood to become North of Tyne Mayor.

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the business has grown from strength-to-strength, thanks to an outstanding team effort and the support of many fantastic clients, and I’m very confident it has a bright future under new ownership.”

Reflecting on John’s appointment and James’ departure, Chamber president Lesley Moody says she is excited about the organisation’s new era.

She said: “James has worked tirelessly over the last 15 years, helping ensure our Chamber has gone from strength-to-strength representing our members regionally, nationally and internationally.

“As a result of our recruitment process, I’m delighted we are welcoming John as our new chief executive.

“He comes to the role with a great knowledge and understanding of the North East business landscape, along with a track record of working with large and smaller businesses.

“He also has first-hand experience of what is involved in starting and growing your own business – something which I’m sure will resonate with many members.”

Chamber chair John Marshall added: “As expected, we had a high level of interest from applicants.

“We also had some strong candidates from both inside and outside the region.

“There was, though, always one stand-out candidate and that was John.

“He has served the Chamber with distinction as president, as well as being a council and board member.

“His understanding of, and passionate commitment to, the Chamber, its members and the region shone through.  

“I am very much looking forward to working with him, alongside Lesley, as we plan for the next chapter for the Chamber.”