Business leaders are launching a new campaign for Birmingham to be run by a directly-elected mayor.
John Phillips, Institute of Directors West Midlands regional director, said a mayor would be directly accountable and answerable to all people.
Mr Phillips added: "All great cities need great leadership and whilst Birmingham has benefited from some excellent political leaders there is much to be said for a politically independent elected champion who would serve for a fixed period bringing both credibility and influence to our city.
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"Whatever one's personal view of the man, Ken Livingstone is recognised on a world stage and has helped to raise London's profile. He has acted in a statesman like role on a number of issues."
The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry is to meet one of the Government's favourite think-tanks on Thursday to talk about the issue.
The meeting with the Institute for Public Policy Research indicates a possible change of heart by the BCI, which took a highly sceptical stance on elected mayors when the matter was last seriously debated in Birmingham four years ago.
Chamber spokesman John Lamb said the subject of Thursday's discussion would be "what makes a great city?"
Mr Lamb said the Chamber was keen to explore whether the elected mayor experiment had worked in other cities, particularly London, and whether Birmingham could learn from the experience.
The Chamber survey among member firms highlighted business sector concern about the "lack of clear vision and leadership" among public sector organisations. The lack of one key-decision maker was holding Birmingham back, it was thought.
The Government indicated after the General Election that it would look favourably on cities wanting to elect a mayor.
A consultative referendum in Birmingham four years ago resulted in 53 per cent support for the idea, but the figure was split between two different types of elected mayor and the city council succeeded in convincing the Government to drop the matter.
Present council leader Mike Whitby, a leading figure behind the anti-mayor campaign in 2001, said last night that he had not changed his mind.
Coun Whitby (Con Harborne) said: "It would introduce another unnecessary and costly layer of bureaucracy.
"I have not been impressed by what I have seen of the American model. It is not in the best traditions of British democratic politics."
The West Midlands CBI remains to be convinced that Birmingham needs an elected mayor. A spokeswoman said: "We would have to be sure that a mayor would give us something more, something of value, over and above what is already being done to promote Birmingham as a great region in which to live, work and invest."