For two years it has been my great privilege to serve as president of the British Chamber of Commerce for Italy. Throughout this extraordinary time I have done my very best to advance the cause of our great and storied institution.
However, new personal projects have presented themselves and this will mean that I will no longer be in a place to continue leading the Chamber. As such, I have decided to step down as president effective from our upcoming Annual General Meeting on 29 June.
Bittersweet though this is for me, I am truly delighted that the Council has unanimously elected Steven Sprague to take over the reins from that date. Many of you will know Steven as the face of our Brexit initiatives over the past 18 months and will therefore share my enthusiasm for this decision; I have no doubt his presidency will be superb and I am looking forward to supporting him in any way I can. To that end I will continue as vice president, also leading the Chamber’s sustainability mission, until the end of the year.
Over the course of my leadership, I have been extremely lucky to have been variously supported, helped, encouraged, stimulated, nursed, harried, counselled and cheered on by a great number of you, far too many to mention here. I hope to have the opportunity to thank as many of you as I can – in person – as we eventually emerge from lockdown and come together once again. In the meantime, I offer my profoundest gratitude to you all for your confidence in me.
Two years ago, I could scarcely have imagined what was to come but, through it all, my immense pride in leading an institution whose members show such unswerving commitment and dedication to its cause has never dimmed.
I wish the Chamber and all of you the very best.
I am delighted and honoured to have been elected to serve as President of the BCCI.
We find ourselves at a crossroads. The pandemic and Brexit have presented all of us with challenges we probably neither sought nor could have imagined a few years ago. However, they have also given us the opportunity to re-evaluate the way we do business and our relationships with our international stakeholders.
A central role of the Chamber, as I see it, is to bridge the gap between Italy and the UK both for our members and to an extent for the business community in Italy at large (inbound and outbound, Italy and the United Kingdom). At a time when the UK is seeking to develop a new role and position, so should the Chamber. We need to position ourselves to best assist our members to benefit from the opportunities before us and to identify and confront the challenges they are faced with.
Tom Noad has been an excellent President. Together with the Secretary General and the Chamber staff, he has guided the chamber through the challenges of the last year, provided stability and reigniting its identity and values. With the support of our members and the Council, I hope to continue and to build on this work and to continue to strengthen the Chamber not only in terms of the membership, but also relevance. To develop further the unique identity of the chamber as a bastion of British values…Italian-style.