Last month at our AGM, it was announced I will be stepping down as Managing Director of the British Chamber of Commerce in China at the end of 2022. Therefore, if you would please indulge me for a moment, I would like to explain why this has genuinely been one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make in my life. I love the Chamber and it has been a true privilege and honour to be the custodian of this incredible organisation. However, my wife and I will be welcoming our first baby in August and we have made the difficult but exciting decision to move back to the UK and be closer to family.
My Journey at the Chamber
I have been trying to think of the right words to sum up my time at the Chamber, but I couldn’t think of anything more apt than the words of Winnie-the-Pooh – ‘How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard’. I hope everyone will know this has been far more than just a job; it’s been my life, and I have genuinely loved every minute. The Chamber is fundamentally a members’ organisation, to which you will all have your own idea what the Chamber should or could be doing. Not everyone will have agreed with all our decisions, but ultimately our intentions have always been for the good of the Chamber and ultimately for the best interests of you, the members!
I have had such an amazing journey with the British Chamber from 9 years ago as an Events Executive to Managing Director – it has given me more than I could have ever imagined. I’m so proud of everything we have achieved, and I loved the journey but more importantly I have loved the relationships – the Chamber has always been a people business and I have worked with the best people! Sincerely thank you all!
However, this is not the end – my commitment is to make sure I pass on the baton safely to a new guardian. The most important thing is to plan and manage this transition, therefore I will continue in my position as Managing Director for another 6 months. We have created a sub-committee in the ExCo to lead the MD recruitment, and very shortly we will be announcing the recruitment processes which will be open and transparent. Regardless, the Chamber is already in excellent hands with the incredible team and Executive Committee. If anyone reading this is a dynamic, passionate, and driven individual who thinks they could elevate the British Chamber to new heights, please do consider the position – it’s an unbelievable opportunity!
Have faith, China will recalibrate
The last few years have thrown so much at us all both personally and professionally, which is why the Chamber has never been more important, because we have an intangible but fundamental purpose – community. The Chamber has been at the heart of the British community in China since our founding in 1981. In the early days, we came together to create a network on the ground, to support the community, share knowledge, and advocate for greater market access. So far, 2022 has been challenging for us all which is why the Chamber needs to lean into why we were founded. During these difficult times we will make sure we bring the community together and make sure British business in China remains vibrant, dynamic and diverse. So have faith, China will recalibrate, and life and work will emerge stronger, more resilient and potentially even more prosperous.
We still have so many important milestones over the next six months. So, I promise absolutely no snoozing on the job or resting on our laurels. We all want to see how much higher the Chamber can go in six months. Please keep reading to find out about our future activities below – we have a lot to look forward to!
A final note
Finally, my parents taught me ‘always pick things up and leave them in a better place’– I really hope I’ve done that with the Chamber. If you have read this far (thank you – I do like to talk!) and if any of this resonates with you – we need you! The Chamber is run by members for members – it’s your Chamber.
We rally around a sense of common purpose – the more you put in, the more you will get back and now more than ever we need advocates for the UK – China relationship. So be part of something bigger than your company or even yourself – globally we are at an inflection point and we need the strongest Chamber to genuinely help us shape the future of UK-China relations.
All the best,