Steve Allen, head of the Birmingham office of law firm Mills & Reeve, has been appointed president of the British-American Business Council (BABC) at its annual conference in New York.
The BABC, which has its secretariat in New York, is the largest transatlantic business network, with 20 chapters and more than 2,000 member companies based in business centres throughout North America and the United Kingdom.
Its members include many of the world’s multinationals, as well as hundreds of middle market and smaller companies.
Mr Allen has been involved with the BABC as a member of the executive committee of the Birmingham chapter since 2007.
He has sat on the BABC’s executive committee in New York, as a representative of all the UK chapters, since 2009 and became vice president of the organisation in 2013.
Mr Allen played a pivotal role in bringing the BABC’s annual transatlantic conference to Birmingham in 2013.
The event saw more than 300 delegates attend a two-day conference at the International Convention Centre, with support from the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Marketing Birmingham.
Mr Allen said: “It’s a huge honour to take up this role at a time when the US and the EU are exploring the removal of custom duties and other restrictions to make it easier for companies to invest and get better access to markets.”
During his two-year tenure, Mr Allen plans to build on existing trade links between the UK, USA and Canada and plans to generate more opportunities for Birmingham and the West Midlands.
He said: “There are about 680 US companies who have chosen to invest in the West Midlands and the US is responsible for nearly a third of all foreign direct investment into the region.
“The US is also the top investor into the West Midlands, responsible for more than 9,500 new and 26,000 existing jobs.
“There is still plenty to go at, however, and I am delighted this role will enable me, working with others, to promote Birmingham and the West Midlands to North American investors.”
Jeffries Briginshaw, chief executive officer of BABC, said: “I am really looking forward to working with Steve. Together we have a huge opportunity to move BABC to centre stage, focused on championing the ambitions, successes and sheer hard work that, business by business, delivers and grows the US UK economic relationship.
“We have worked closely together to deliver a city-by-city roadshow explaining the opportunities around the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TIPP).
“This has already shown us that there is real strength and even greater potential in our network of chapters across the UK and the US and with Steve’s leadership I am sure we are going to be able to leverage that in new and exciting ways.”
As well as heading Mills & Reeve’s 250 strong Birmingham office, Mr Allen is a member of the council of the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group as well as being an international ambassador for the city of Birmingham, appointed by Marketing Birmingham.