Rod Ackrill, former president of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, has died aged 64 after a long illness.
Mr Ackrill, who founded SPI plc and Chase Midland, was president of the Chamber from 2006 to 2007 and was also honorary vice-president of the Newspaper Press Fund.
SPI, an importer and exporter of seafood, was so successful it went on to become the first company in England to gain the Queen’s Award to industry for exporting seafood.
Following its acquisition by the Albert Fisher Group in 1987, Mr Ackrill turned his attentions to property.
In 1991 he formed Chase Midland, which grew from just two employees to more than 250 with a turnover in excess of £100 million.
After many successful years it fell victim to the unexpected collapse of the residential property market in 2008.
Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham Chamber, said: “We are saddened to hear that Rod passed away last night after battling cancer for numerous years.
“Having built a flourishing property business following a career in food packaging and distribution, Rod was a great supporter of the Chamber.
"He contributed hugely through his presidency year, until his illness proved too strong for him to be able to see through the final few months.
“Rod’s humour and good cheer was a defining part of his character, with his smile always having the ability to light up a room emulating his positive outlook upon life.
“Even during his final years, Rod showed his commitment to the Chamber, always interested to hear about the Chamber’s successes and how Birmingham was progressing."
Mr Ackrill, who died on Sunday, leaves children Freddie, Paris and Albertine and, from his previous marriage, Mark, Ben and James.