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Business & Economy

James Ramsbotham takes new role at Newcastle Building Society

The chief executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce is stepping down after 15 years. James Ramsbotham will leave his role at the business membership organisation later this year to take up a board chair position with Newcastle Building Society.

Speaking about his departure, James, who led the Chamber through the global banking crisis and credit crunch, Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, said the “time was right”, adding the organisation is “in good shape to face the future”.

Colleagues have moved quickly to praise James, who also oversaw the Chamber’s 200th anniversary in 2015, calling him “a great champion of our business community” who has “established the Chamber as a dynamic and highly respected influence throughout the region, as well as on the national and international stage”.

James [pictured left] said: “I am very proud and immensely fortunate to have worked with a phenomenal team of people, both staff and members, at the Chamber.

“We have achieved a great deal for businesses and other employers across the region and for everyone who works for them.

“The Chamber is in good shape to face the future and to support its members as it has done for over two centuries.

“I have enjoyed every moment and have been privileged to work with so many incredible companies and other enterprises, helping them to maximise opportunities around the world and to thrive in the most impressive way.

“Perhaps my fondest memories are of 2015 and our year-long celebration to mark the Chamber’s 200th anniversary, culminating in a spectacular dinner at Durham Cathedral.

“It’s been a difficult decision to step back from the Chamber but, after 15 years as chief executive, I believe the time is right.

“I wish the team, our members and my successor every success in the future and they should all know they can always rely on my support.”

James, who previously worked at Barclays for 14 years and spent 11 years on the board of Darlington Building Society, will take over from Phil Moorhouse at Newcastle Building Society

Andrew Haigh, Newcastle Building Society chief executive, said: “We are extremely grateful for Phil’s contribution during his time as chair.

“He has provided a rich depth of experience and clear and calm leadership to the board.

“The society has continued to thrive and grow during Phil’s tenure, despite many external challenges, and he will leave it in a great position to continue to move forward.”

He added: “We are delighted James will be joining us.

“He brings extensive knowledge of business throughout our region, together with a clear focus on both customers and communities and we very much look forward to working with him in the years ahead.”

Reacting to James’ departure, Chamber president Lesley Moody, said: “James has firmly established the North East England Chamber of Commerce as a dynamic and highly respected influence throughout the region, as well as on the national and international stage.

“He remains a great champion of our business community and I know all our members will want to join me in extending our thanks and sincere best wishes for the future.”

John Marshall, Chamber chair, will lead the process to recruit James’ successor.

He added: “James will be the hardest of acts to follow but, thanks to him and the team he has led with such distinction – supported by the diligent and talented board – we are well placed to attract candidates ideal for the role.

“The process will begin immediately in order to ensure a smooth transition.”