11/02/2014

Chamber merger backed by members

The Bradford Chamber and the Leeds, York & North Yorkshire Chamber have agreed to merge, creating the fifth largest chamber in the country.

Sandy Needham, who moves from being chief executive of Bradford Chamber to that of the new body, said creation of the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce would ensure the cities of Bradford, Leeds and York and the North Yorkshire area will have “top-class representation and lobbying”.

“The three presidents and committees will ensure the local business voice is heard and working together they will have a greater impact for companies when dealing with government ministers, senior civil servants and, increasingly, the Leeds City Region and in North Yorkshire,” said Needham.

“Members will benefit from across-the-patch networking and a wider range of services.  We’ll ensure the transition is as seamless as possible and keep our focus on helping businesses of all sizes and sectors to be competitive and to grow.”

The three areas will retain their presidents and policy-making structures will be reviewed to increase the engagement of members at both local and combined area levels.

An advisory stakeholder panel is to be established to link with public sector partners such as the local authorities, universities and colleges and the local enterprise partnerships.  Chamber offices and staff will be retained in Bradford, Leeds and York.

As part of the merger, Len Cruddace, chief executive of LYNY, is retiring.

Andrew Lindsay, the incoming chairman of the merged chamber, said: “I am looking forward to working with Sandy Needham who has an excellent reputation as a chamber chief executive and I know she is as excited about the opportunities for chamber members that this merger brings, as I am.”

Yorkshire law firm Gordons represented the Bradford Chamber.