Former Manganese Bronze chief executive John Russell has been named as the new chairman of the West Midlands Manufacturing Consortium (WMMC).
Mr Russell, who has also held senior positions at Harley Davidson and Land Rover, said delivering the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) contract and unleashing the region’s engineering potential were his main aims in the role.
He believes companies have a unique chance to take advantage of favourable exchange rates, a desire to buy ‘British’ and unrivalled investment in automotive, aerospace, medical and renewables.
The former electrical engineering graduate is keen to use his position at the helm of WMMC to help create the right climate for growth by ensuring manufacturers receive the specialist assistance they need to expand and create jobs.
He is determined to harness the innovation and entrepreneurship of West Midlands firms by strengthening thriving relationships between industry and academia so new technologies can be commercialised.
There are also plans in place to ensure business support continues to be easier to access, primarily by working closer with organisations such as the EEF, Warwick Manufacturing Group, UKTI, the Chambers and the LEPs.
Mr Russell, who played an instrumental role in marketing the launch of the Land Rover Discovery, said: “Manufacturers aren’t looking for hand-outs, they are just looking for help with key issues that are holding them back. This is where I believe we can make a real difference.
“WMMC’s main role is to deliver the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) in the West Midlands, North West and the North East and we’re currently supporting in excess of 4000 companies ever year.”
He continued: “We’ve got 25 advisors delivering strategic assistance on the ground and this ranges from help with efficiency improvements and lean, to sales and marketing support and guidance with longer-term strategy.
“This is having a real impact and we believe millions of pounds has been added to the three regional economies as a result of MAS support.”
Mr Russell has been involved in industry for more than 40 years, starting his career with Unipart, before moving to Peugeot Talbot Motor Co, the Rover Group and a stint in India as CEO of Bombay Dyeing.
His last role was chief executive of Manganese Bronze where he managed to overcome a difficult period in its history to transfer ownership to Geely with the view to ensuring production stays in Coventry.