City business boss Simon Topman has taken up the top job at the newly renamed West Midlands Chambers.
He is the first person to take up the post since it was renamed from the Confederation of West Midlands Chamber of Commerce and takes over the role from David Burton, who stood down at the group’s annual meeting after four years in the job.
“I am delighted to be appointed chairman of the chambers at a time when regional issues are at the fore,” he said.
“Devolution means that we must respond as a region to the needs of business today and I look forward to continuing the development of the WMC over the next few years.”
Mr Topman, who has in the past been a chairman of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is the chief executive of Acme Whistles, a manufacturing SME which exports its products to 119 countries world wide as well as supplying the domestic market.
It is a world market leader in the production and development of sound effects, signal alarms, animal calls and whistles.
He is also chairman of Aston Pride New Deal for the Community, a £54 million regeneration partnership in Aston and chairman of governors at St. George’s School in Edgbaston.
Former positions have included vice-president of the British Chambers of commerce from 2006 to 2008, director The Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 2002 to 2006, board member of Business Link 2004 to 2007 and he also served as a board member for Marketing Birmingham from 2005 to 2006.
Outside of his official activities Mr Topman is a member and director of the supervisory board of Arts and Business West Midlands and honorary vice president of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists..
He has been a member of the Ministerial Challenge Panel at the Department for Business Enterprise and regulatory reform since 2006 and was a former member of The Better Regulation Board of the DTI, now BERR, between 2005 and 2008.
He is also a member of The Work and Parents Taskforce, a policy making taskforce under the DTI that created the regulations on the “right to request” and a member of the DWP Pensions Taskforce.
Between 2002 and 2007 he was a member of the DTI Small Business Council, advising the Secretary of State and the head of the Small Business Service and was a moderator for regulation during that time.
He is also known as a fundraiser for Mayfield Special School and Young enterprise, projects he has supported since the 1990s.
Former chairman David Burton will continue to be a director of the WMC and Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce as well as being chairman of the governors of Coventry University.