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John Bridge to step down from chief executive role at Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce



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Cambridge Chamber of Commerce 100th Anniversary. From left are Mark Read, chairman; Mary Currie-Smith, vice-chairman; Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Jeremy Benstead, John Bridge OBE and Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Chamber of Commerce 100th Anniversary. From left are Mark Read, chairman; Mary Currie-Smith, vice-chairman; Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Jeremy Benstead, John Bridge OBE and Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce. Picture: Keith Heppell

John Bridge OBE has announced he is stepping down as chief executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce after 17 years. John will leave at the end of April 2021 “to focus on new ventures and related projects”.

In stepping down as chief executive, John will remain engaged in related projects, which will enable him to use his skills and contacts as he continues to serve the region.

John’s decision comes as the region starts to prepare for a new post-pandemic era. It is his belief that, having successfully navigated the challenges of the pandemic and launched the Local Business/ Global Trade Champion initiative in 2020 – laying the groundwork for our businesses to come together and build a different, more inclusive future for themselves – “this is the right time to be handing the chief executive baton on”.

He says: “I’ve enjoyed a long and terrific run as chief executive, and I’ve had the privilege of working with the most fantastic people at the Chamber and across the region. For me, it’s always been about team, collaboration and cooperation and I am immensely proud of all that we have achieved together over the last 17 years – from the vital A14 road upgrade through to simply elevating the region’s individual business voices.”

The campaign to upgrade the A14 took up 22 years of John’s attention, eventually resulting in a £1.5bn upgrade of the notorious dual carriageway.

The Chamber has gone to go from strength to strength under his stewardship, developing it into a vibrant, member-focussed organisation, while also enhancing the relationships with key private and public sector bodies. Mr Bridge also led the Chamber 100 Year celebrations in 2017.

More recently John has continually sought clarity on government regulations during the pandemic, plus provided a welcome and urgent voice during the UK/EU trade negotiations, and since. As businesses struggle to get to grips with a tsunami of new paper work his voice has provided those in government the sort of feedback they need to hear as members face an uphill battle not just to comply with the regulations already introduced, but those to come on July 1.

John Bridge is set to stand down after 17 years as chief executive of the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce. Picture: Keith Heppell
John Bridge is set to stand down after 17 years as chief executive of the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce. Picture: Keith Heppell

Brian Jones, chairman of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, said: “John has been a most committed and determined chief executive, always with the region’s best interests at heart - and his very significant contribution to the county is clear in all that he has achieved while he’s been at the helm.”

John’s dedication hasn’t just been confined to Cambridgeshire or the Chambers of Commerce.

In October 2014, he was honoured to be appointed as a deputy lieutenant to the HM Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, now Mrs Julie Spence OBE, the Queen’s representative for Cambridgeshire, assisting her in the performance of any public duty across the county.

Before that, from 2008, John was the chairman of Opportunity Peterborough, a role he performed for almost nine years, driving the momentum as well as the economic vision and aspirations for Peterborough.

Between 2011-2018, he also served as director, and later chair, of the Nominations & Remuneration Committee and Local Transport Panel for the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

John will remain as chief executive until May 1 when former diplomat Vic Annells, currently executive director of Mansion House & the Central Criminal Court, will take over the role.



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