Black Country Chamber of Commerce has appointed the senior partner of a Midland law firm as its new president.
Paul Bennett, from George Green, succeeds Mike Dell who stepped down on March 30.
He will be responsible for representing business in the Black Country – working with each of the local boards and decision-makers to ensure that the chamber influences policy for the benefit of local business.
Mr Bennett said: “Two key themes of my presidency will be ambition and collaboration.
“We desperately need to raise our ambition and aspiration across the Black Country. How can we excite others, particularly potential investors, if we have limited confidence or enthusiasm ourselves?
“Dudley’s city status bid attracted criticism from some elements of our own community.
"Some claimed Dudley had little to offer, that it was too small. The same negativity was not displayed in successful bidder, St Asaph, set to become a city with a population of just 3,400 people.
“Interest generated in St Asaph will, no doubt, boost visitor numbers beyond the current annual level of around 800,000 visitors a year, over half of whom visit its Tweedmill factory outlet.
“By contrast, our own Merry Hill centre has in a single week almost the same number of visitors as Tweedmill in an entire year. Clearly we need to have much greater confidence in our own proposition.”
Commenting on his time spent as President, Mr Dell said it had been an honour.
He said: “Two years certainly flies by when you are enjoying what you are doing. It has been a great privilege to represent the members of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce.”