Two senior city business figures have been appointed to the Marketing Birmingham board as the group takes forward its newly-launched inward investment programme.
Deloitte’s Midlands senior partner Chris Loughran and Mark Smith, Midlands chairman of PwC, were selected to bolster the board due to their strong track records in technology and financial services.
The pair were presented at the annual general meeting of the public-private sector partnership at the Crowne Plaza on November 25, and are set to play a major part in plans to create 7,000 jobs in the next five years.
Mr Loughran, who is also vice-chairman of Deloitte in the region, said: “I am joining Marketing Birmingham at a particularly exciting time. The recent transfer of Birmingham City Council’s inward investment function to Marketing Birmingham has resulted in some ambitious new targets for the organisation, including the creation of 7,000 jobs by 2015.
“As a recent returner to the city, I am also particularly keen to play my part in getting Birmingham rightfully recognised as a great city in which to live and work.”
Mr Loughran has returned to Birmingham from London having led Deloitte’s technology consulting practice for the last ten years.
Research recently undertaken by IBM-PLI, a global location specialist, identified the technology sector as a key target for Business Birmingham due to the city’s strengths in this area.
He is joined by Mr Smith, who heads PwC’s largest practice outside London. Under his leadership the practice provides a range of services including assurance and tax guidance, assistance with corporate finance issues and business turnaround counsel to clients across the Midlands.
With financial services also highlighted by IBM-PLI as an area of opportunity for the city, his expertise will be used to develop a new Business Birmingham programme, providing potential investors with the industry insight and contacts they need to commit to the city.
Mr Smith said: “The success of the financial services sector is critical to the future economic prosperity of the region.
‘‘Those investing here need to be able to rely on access to ‘on the ground’ support from a quality-driven services sector that is committed to supporting Birmingham as it strives to compete in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.”
Data from the West Midlands Regional Observatory shows there were 88 inward investment successes in the West Midlands last year, creating more than 1,500 new jobs and safeguarding another 4,300.
However, investments represented the lowest number of jobs created or safeguarded since 1992-93.
Marketing Birmingham’s remit was widened to include inward investment following its success in building the city’s visitor economy, which now generates £4.4 billion every year, and its ability to attract major events, such as the recent Conservative Party Conference – which delivered £18 million in economic impact to the city
Paul Kehoe, chairman of Marketing Birmingham, said: “These appointments reflect the real need to improve the city’s economic prospects, not only as a place to visit but as a place to invest and grow. The challenge for many cities in the current climate is how to promote themselves as complete entities.
“While some may be known for their visitor experience and others more for their business climate, Birmingham has both – by bringing together the city’s marketing to visitors and investors we are creating a more persuasive package to promote nationally and internationally.”