Deborah Leary, chief executive of Tamworth-based Forensic Pathways, is to succeed Peter Mathews as chairman of the Midlands World Trade Forum.
The organisation campaigns on the economy and exports, pushing West Midlands' companies abroad.
And it has never been afraid to take issue with the authorities on issues such as interest rates.
Ms Leary said: "The organisation has gone from strength-to-strength during Peter's tenure and has become the region's leading voice for international trade.
"My task now is to carry things forward and ensure the members continue to benefit from the expertise we have on offer. International trade is growing at an incredible rate, with new, untapped markets opening up every year. It is important we give our members the best possible chance to take advantage of these opportunities."
Stepping down at the organisation's AGM, Mr Mathews, who will remain as honorary MWTF president, said more and more firms were looking to sell their products and services abroad, but they did not always get the assistance and advice they needed to compete with international rivals.
Mr Mathews, president of the Black Country Chamber, said: "The MWTF is a truly region-wide business organisation, with members from Stoke to Hereford and Shrewsbury to Burton, and everywhere in between, employing 30,000 people with a total turnover of nearly £2 billion. This shows how important international trade is to the region.
"These companies - and we as an organisation - receive a lot of assistance from the Government through UK Trade & Investment and the international trade teams at chambers across the West Midlands. But there are still pockets where businesses are left out in the cold when all they need is a little guidance that could mean the difference between life and death for these companies. We need to work together to ensure the region capitalises on the various opportunities around the world."
Paul McCairn, director of Dudley-based Bri-Mac Engineering becomes MWTF vice-chairman from the private sector, with Terry Wood, head of international trade at Black Country Chamber joining him as vice-chairman from the public sector.