NEW BELFAST CHAMBER PRESIDENT COMES INTO OFFICE

NEW BELFAST CHAMBER PRESIDENT COMES INTO OFFICE
Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce has welcomed Gordon McElroy as the newly elected Chamber President.
 
Gordon is a director at Belfast legal firm, MKB Law, and has carried out the role as Senior Vice President of the Chamber over the last year.  
He replaces outgoing president Hugh Black who served for the past twelve months.
 
Handing over the chain, Hugh Black said: “The past twelve months have been a huge honour to follow in the footsteps of many prestigious men and woman who have carried out this role.
 
“It’s been a highly enjoyable year and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I have met such an inspirational cross section of members and business people from all walks of life.
 
“Belfast has a great vibe about it at the moment, with a lot of new retailers coming back as a result of the rates revaluation. Demand for Grade A office accommodation is also on the up, two great signs of a growing positivity in the business community.
 
 “I wish Gordon the very best in his term in office and know that with him at the helm Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce will continue to work very hard for its members and the wider population to help shape this great city to its maximum potential.”
Speaking after his election Mr McElroy said: “It is a great honour to be elected as the President of the Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce.
“When my partner and I opened our practice in Belfast 13 years ago, I would never have believed that we could have become so integrated into the business life of Belfast.
 “My thanks go out to Hugh as the outgoing President for all of the support and him enormously for his help and guidance over the next 12 months. It is a great responsibility to follow an unbroken line of Presidents since 1912.
“Hugh has seen the chamber through a very difficult period of transition in the course of the past year.
 “This change has made the Chamber more focussed on lobbying and networking and changed its relationship with key partners such as Belfast City Centre Management. Hugh has managed that process and has left the Chamber in a safe and secure position for those following. We can move forward from solid foundations.
“Looking to the future, this will be an exciting year.
“The draft programme for Government makes no reference to Belfast. We must engage with both the local and Stormont politicians to make sure that they understand the importance of a strong and successful Belfast to a strong and successful Northern Ireland.
“We now live in a world where there is an official opposition and we will take advantage of that opportunity to promote the interests of our members.
“Over the course of the next year, we aim to improve access to the City; to secure regeneration funds for the City Council; to promote the City and to develop our relationships throughout these islands. That will be a lot of work but I know that I have the support of a dedicated Executive Council with wide ranging skills. Let me assure the members of the Executive Council, that I fully intend to draw upon those skills.”
The new president will be supported by the Executive Council elected unanimously, including:
Michelle Jackson, Victoria Square (Senior Vice President),
Christopher McCausland, Value Cabs (Junior Vice President),
Michael Stewart, Madison’s Hotel (Junior Vice President),
Rajesh Rana, Andras Hotels (Honorary Treasurer),
Catriona McGirr (Secretary),
Paul McMahon, CastleCourt,
Norman Maynes, Translink,
Anne Higgins, Boots,
Chris Suitor, Suitor Menswear,
Steven Mewha, House of Frazer,
John Lunn, Lunns,
Liam Creagh, Red Box Media,
Jo Bell, HLM Architects, 
Peter Legg, Grant Thornton,
Anthony Best, Lacuna Developments,
Gerry Daly, Francis Hanna &Co,
Les Hume, Dawson’s Music.
 
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