Charles Howeson appointed as new President of Plymouth & Devon Chamber of Commerce | Devon Chamber of Commerce

Devon Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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Charles Howeson appointed as new President of Plymouth & Devon Chamber of Commerce | 14.05.15

Charles Howeson, Chairman of Plymouth Area Business Council and former Chair of First Great Western Trains Advisory Board has been appointed President of Devon Chamber of Commerce.

At its recent AGM, the board of the Devon Chamber of Commerce unanimously invited Captain Charles Howeson RNR to become its President in succession to Sir John Parker, GBE.

After a twenty five year career in the Royal Navy, Charles has enjoyed an almost uniquely broad and certainly very successful business career. His career started locally, and became regional before moving on to lead national entities and then held international appointments whilst always remaining loyal to Plymouth where his roots are.

Amongst many others, these have included; the Chairmanship of the Rowe Group; Coutts and Co private bankers in the SW; the Consumer Council for Post; and also until recently the Water Industry, the head of the whole NHS for the wider SW and then the whole of NHS property nationally; the Chairmanship of First Great Western Trains for over seven years; and the United Kindoms Seafish Industry Authority. Charles retains his links with the MOD and particularly with the Royal Navy where HM the Queen appointed him one to be of her small number of Honorary Captains in the RNR in 2009.

Today he continues to be hands on in the private sector whilst as ever dividing his time equally between that, public service and the third or voluntary and community sector, invariably taking a non-party political stance at every level.

He is a passionate believer in Plymouth, the Southwest and indeed the wider region, having been an active economic champion now for over two decades.

In expressing his pleasure and honour in accepting the invitation to take up the appointment, Charles emphasised the importance of the Chamber movement in formally representing and helping to co-ordinate all business's community representation alongside a range of other bodies. Today, as never before, and despite its long and distinguished history Charles believes that the need for business unity and for one voice, particularly where economic enabling infrastructure investment is required, is absolutely vital, right across the peninsular and the wider SW.

In his address of acceptance, and despite his expressed view that the City was currently in good shape,  Charles emphasised that "he would fight tirelessly to assist in the making of common cause in support of the economic development agenda beyond its boundaries whenever and wherever appropriate". He added that "the role of the Chamber of Commerce had never been more important", and urged everyone in the business community to engage with it now, and at this juncture whether they had need of the comprehensive tarif of direct support services that are available, or not. 

Richard Stevens, Chairman of Devon Chamber of Commerce said: “I am delighted to welcome Charles as President of Devon Chamber of Commerce. Following the news of our widened geographic expansion, Charles’ addition to the Board brings another skill set enabling further opportunities for us to coordinate a one voice lobbying approach which this region needs. I look forward to working with Charles over coming years, this enabling the Chamber to benefit from his experience as he assists us in driving the Chamber forward to benefit businesses across Plymouth and the Devon region.”

In the last 202 years Charles will be only the second President of the Chamber, not from the founding families being the Earls of Morley, the Lords St Levan and Lord Caradon.


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