While rival cities are enjoying a broadcasting renaissance, Birmingham has been a notable absentee from that party of late – and it is hurting our balance sheet.
The BBC spends a fraction of its outlay in the North West, Scotland and Wales in the West Midlands – its largest region – and following the closure of Pebble Mill and the loss of some key programming things look gloomy.
Mr Nagra is the man appointed to turn this round. The Birmingham-born former head of television, religion and ethics, will be working closely with teams across the Mailbox site and wider broadcast industry and the BBC to help build its presence in the city and bring more business to the area.
Some progress has been made with a recent investment in digital and training, but more needs to be done to redress the balance.
The year after the Airport Commission was always going to be a big one for Mr Kehoe.
While Howard Davies and his team were looking into the future for airports in the country – and ultimately finding the answer to capacity issues lie in the South East – much focus has been on trumpeting Birmingham’s case, backed up by HS2.
Now it is clear the commission is going to do the airport no favours.
Regardless, the long-awaited runway extension will be completed in April, bringing more long-haul destinations into the city’s reach.
Bangladesh and New York flights have already been brought in, but more work is needed.
So what are the benchmarks? Well, bringing in long-haul destinations takes time – the recent Air India deal was five years in the making. If flights to China or South Korea are secured this year it will go down as a success.
Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya
There is nowhere in the West Midlands doing so much to create skilled jobs and new industries to drive the region forward than Warwick Manufacturing Group.
WMG founder Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, a Post columnist, is at the forefront of a major push to continue work with Jaguar Land Rover and adopt a similar world-class approach in different fields.
Work on a new £4.1 million nanocomposites facility, creating 50 jobs, began late last year, while progress continues to be made on the £100 million National Automotive Innovation Campus which is backed by funding from JLR.
Meanwhile, WMG is also getting into the field of digital healthcare and developing new battery and steel facilities which promise to keep the region at the cutting edge.
The coming year is likely to be another one of consolidation in the legal sector, so the man at the helm of the city’s largest law firm is a key one to watch.
Wragge & Co’s senior partner Mr Poole has just completed a merger with London-based Lawrence Graham as part of plans to strengthen in the capital. The deal, which will completed in May, creates a £171 million business with 1,300 people, including 770 lawyers, operating from ten offices worldwide.
But in an ever-changing sector there is no time to stand still. Wragge’s has enjoyed success in Germany in recent times, and the Post understands talks are taking place about a merger deal.
This will be the year that Ms Davis will have to prove she can deliver.
The former Birmingham City Council communications boss heads up the city’s local television operation, BLTV, and has long trumpeted it has the future of media in the region.
But evidence has been thin on the ground thus far. There is a stated aim of launching in April, but while operations in other cities have made positive noises about finance and broadcasting facilities, such promises have been thin on the ground in Birmingham, more than a year after being awarded the licence.
Speculation is mounting in Birmingham media circles that the licence is to be sold on to a new majority shareholder – in the meantime clock is ticking for BLTV.
The issue of skills is not going to go away in 2014, and former KPMG regional chairman Mr Hollis has put himself right at the heart of the issue in the region.
Now the deputy chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, Mr Hollis was part of the team to put together a £1 billion bid for funding, with creating the engineering skills to make the most of Jaguar Land Rover’s upturn and high-speed rail at the centre of it.
A major factor is improving links between businesses and colleges, and Mr Hollis has put his money where his mouth is by becoming chairman of Birmingham Metropolitan College.
The Shoosmiths partner took over as executive chair of what is now known as BPS Birmingham, formerly Birmingham Forward, at the end of last year, and faces a major task to plot a new future for the organisation.
The name change followed a lean period for the group established by Roger Dickens in the city amid talk of dwindling attendances at some of its events and a struggle to remain relevant to member groups.
It will be now or never for the organisation to make a home in a changing business environment. The city’s focus on professional services presents an opportunity, but in an increasingly digital world it needs to find its niche in 2014.
The truth is this list could be loaded with Jaguar Land Rover-related businesses but in the interests of plurality I have steered clear of the car giant.
But at the moment all roads lead to JLR and as the managing director of supply chain firm Sertec, Mr Adams has been one of the major beneficiaries of soaring sales.
Sertec is in place to create 150 new jobs after taking over the Coleshill headquarters of collapsed communications firm Greenwoods as part of expansion plans.
But with JLR’s sales continuing to grow in the UK and developing nations, as long as the engineering expertise is out there opportunities abound for a previously struggling supply chain.
The former director of the Cube must rank among Birmingham’s busiest men.
His £5.5 million School Yard development in Harborne has taken a step closer with work taking place on phase two, and meanwhile it is understood he is in talks with some big names over its food school, after the previous operator dropped out.
He remains a major figure at the Cube, and secured a string of new tenant last year including Shogun Teppanyaki and Bun&Bowl.
But with that reaching fruition he is on the lookout for new development opportunities and with the city’s property sector picking up it is likely to be another busy year.
Progress in the city’s digital sector will be a vital focus for the year ahead, and Mr Aquarone could provide a success story.
The technology entrepreneur co-founded mobile money platform Droplet, an app that allows customers to load money onto their phone and send payments for free.
The business is in a clearly growing market with banks struggling to keep up with convenient ways for people to deal with their money online, and has already signed up some big names – not least Chiltern Railways and Airparks.
Droplet, based at Innovation Birmingham Campus, has made some headway in the capital – indeed it has more customers in London than its home city – it will have to capitalise on this in 2014.
Ones to watch in sport
Ones to watch in politics
Ones to watch in food and culture
Ones to watch in health and education