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A Christmas message from our CEO

What a year it’s been! One might say it’s been a political rollercoaster – I don’t think I’ve seen such an epic turnaround of Cabinet members in my lifetime. The uncertainty and lack of stability of central government has had a monumental detrimental effect on the UK as a whole and our economy has suffered tremendously, especially with the disastrous ‘mini budget’ delivered on 23 September 2022, by the then Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng.

But we have and continue to ride this storm – you have shown resilience, determination and have continued with your heads held high in the ever-changing landscape of the business world. As a Chamber we are here to support you our members, and we will continue to lobby and seek support for the business community in Exeter.

Exeter is a city I am immensely proud of. It’s the city I call home, a city I support on all levels, from business through to sports, and arts and culture. We’re a city full ideas, ambition, success, and compassion. Our local economy is growing and as a city we have some solid plans to continue its expansion. I am excited to see the new Hotel Indigo open after months of redevelopment and restoration to deliver high quality hospitality to the city centre. And confidence is growing amongst our high street as we see new eateries and retailers opening.

We continue to maintain and develop our working relationships with the world class educational provisions in the city with the University of Exeter and Exeter College. We’re passionate about nurturing future business talent to ensure the continued success of our business community.

I’m not usually one to look back and my motto is always to look forward with optimism. But I’m making an exception on this occasion as I feel 2022 has a lot worth reflecting on.

Since my appointment as CEO in April of this year, I am pleased to say that we have doubled our membership growth. We have delivered over 50 events, including our first ever Summer Bash at Exeter Castle, with over 300 guests from the Exeter business community. I, together with fellow Board Directors have continued to raise the profile of the Chamber through regular appearances on Spotlight and ITV Westcountry, commenting on key business issues.

We have appointed Steve Gates as our new Chair, who succeeds Clodagh Murphy. We welcomed Josie Andrews as our new Financial Director and we said a sad farewell to our Board Director Joanne Caine, who stepped down after five consecutive years of service at the Chamber.

Our focus as we head into 2023, is to deliver more of the events you love, including our first Coffee in the City of the year on Wednesday 11th January at 8.30am at Luciano’s in Princesshay, thanks to our event sponsor InExeter. Without the support from InExeter we would not be able to continue to offer this well attended networking event in our city, and for this I am extremely grateful.

We’ll also be launching our first Chamber awards, a new initiative for those starting out in the careers, a brand-new membership model and of course, we’re bringing back the Summer Bash. We will also be working with our friends at the Plymouth and Devon Chamber next year to deliver jointly run events in Exeter for the benefit of all our members.

So, as we head into the final few days before Christmas, I’d like to thank you our members for your continued support, thank you for sharing your news, and please do keeping sending your stories our way, the more we can shout about our local and regional success, the more we can continue to prosper. And, if you need support or help, then get in touch and we will do all we can.

I have to say, it has been an immense pleasure to serve as CEO of Exeter Chamber since my appointment in April of this year. I’d like to thank our team of Board Directors for their support, and commitment to driving business success in Exeter.

So, that is it from us for 2022, I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a bright and prosperous New Year. 

Season’s Greetings,

Richard