The West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has today announced the appointment of James Mason as its new Chief Executive Officer.
James (43), who stepped down from his previous role as Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire in October 2021, will spend the coming weeks shadowing current Chief Executive Sandy Needham, who retires from the role on Friday 29th April.
Having set up his own manufacturing business over 20 years ago, James has enjoyed a distinguished career having held leadership roles at Bradford City and Rochdale Football clubs, as well as a period working as a sports agent. As a qualified journalist, James worked for many years as a news and sports reporter with the BBC and is the founder of two not for profit dementia cafes in West Yorkshire.
Speaking about his new role, James said: “I am delighted to be joining the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce to champion, connect, represent and support such a diverse range of fantastic businesses and work with the brilliant Chamber team. Ever since I set up my own company in my early twenties, I’ve always been passionate about business and the region I’m proud to call home.
“Over the past two years I’ve seen first hand the challenges and opportunities that Covid-19 has presented to business and it is important to collaborate with stakeholders and be creative to make this part of the world the most attractive place in the UK to do business.
“I’d like to thank the board for putting their faith in me and to Sandy (Needham) who has done a fantastic job over many years. She will be a tough act to follow but it will be a privilege to carry on her excellent work.”
Chair of the West & North Yorkshire Chamber, Amanda Beresford, added: “We are delighted that James is joining as Chief Executive as we prepare to mark the end of a 25-year era with Sandy at the helm.
“James’ passion for and knowledge of our region, combined with his experience as a business owner and leader, will ensure the all-important stability and growth needed not only for our post-pandemic business community but also for members of our organisation, which has been supporting and representing businesses for 170 years.”
Mr Mason’s appointment follows the announcement last November, of the retirement of Sandy Needham, who joined Chamber Management Services, a company jointly owned by the Chambers of Bradford, Leeds and York and North Yorkshire, in 1997 before becoming Chief Executive of Bradford Chamber in 2001. Sandy went on to head up the West & North Yorkshire Chamber following the successful merger of the three Chambers in 2014.
*Photo credit Thomas Gadd