The head of a business group that represents business organisations across the region is being forced to stand down because of budget cuts.
James Watkins, executive director of Business Voice WM, will remain with organisation in the short term to help it restructure before “moving on to new opportunities”.
Business Voice WM chairman Barrie Williams said: “James has been an excellent executive director who has served the West Midlands business community with distinction and integrity. Under his leadership, significant achievements were gained including enhancements in training provision, financial help for SMEs and concerted action to beat business crime.
“Regrettably, with Business Voice WM having received a significant amount of its funding from the Regional Development Agency, we realise that, with the demise of these funds at the end of March, we will not have the resources to support an executive director function for the foreseeable future.
“We wish James the very best for the future and I am sure he will continue to play an active part in the future of the Midlands.”.
BVWM was launched as the first independent umbrella group for a host of regional business organisations with a view to providing a unified voice and boasted members including the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Directors and the West Midlands Developers Alliance.
Mr Watkins said: “It has been a privilege and an honour for me to work with the West Midlands business community for over eight years. It is fantastic to work with dynamic and forward looking businesses who are determined to make the Midlands a great place to live and work.
“During that period of time, we have championed change and achieved practical results, from ensuring flood hit firms were given practical help to helping to ensure greater action was taken to improve our transport network.
“I have no doubt that Business Voice WM, under the strong and positive leadership of Barrie, will continue, in its new structure, to speak with one business voice, on the issues that matter at this critical time.”