It has been announced that the chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC), Paul Faulkner, is leaving his position and will take up a new role as chief of staff and operations within the group of businesses owned by the Richardson family.  

GBCC chair David Waller wished Mr Faulkner “every success” in his new career and added: “I am sure that you will join me in giving Paul our heartfelt thanks for all of the work and leadership he has given to the Chamber over the past six years.

“I am naturally very saddened that he has decided to leave our family but I thoroughly understand his reasons. Paul will remain as CEO of the Chamber for the coming months and I have asked him to work closely with me to help to ensure a smooth and effective transition with his successor.”

Mr Faulkner (pictured), who is a former chief executive of Aston Villa FC and Nottingham Forest, recently led the successful sale of Chamber of Commerce House to Mercia Real Estate for £4.75 million in a move that secures the Chamber’s long-term future. He said: “I’m very sad to be leaving the brilliant team at the Chamber, although equally excited by this next chapter in my own career. As a business support organisation the Chamber is absolutely second to none, and I am proud to have led its development since June, 2015, working alongside a host of fantastic individuals.

“The Chamber has led the way in supporting our members through some challenging times recently, not the least of which are the struggles all businesses are experiencing in the Covid-19 crisis. We have influenced government and council policies to the benefit of all businesses and supported them as we went through the agonising process of leaving the European Union.

“Throughout, we have managed to maintain membership levels, all supported by a tremendous team at the Chamber. This really is testament to the expertise and enthusiasm of a diverse group of people dedicated to promoting and protecting the cause of business locally, nationally and globally.

“And in doing so, the Chamber has in turn received tremendous support from our members, who have played their part in helping us to formulate these policies as well as enthusiastically engaging in the huge programme of Chamber events and activities that have taken place despite all the Covid-19 restrictions.”

The Richardson family business was founded by Roy Richardson and his late brother Don more than 70 years ago in Oldbury. The family now operate international real estate and private equity businesses, with these having being successfully run for the past 20 years by brothers Martyn, Lee and Carl Richardson, who said: “We are always looking to work with excellent people to further expand our family interests, Paul more than fits that bill. We are very pleased to welcome him on board as part of the senior team.”

Mr Faulkner added:  “I’m delighted and humbled to have the opportunity to take up this new position with the Richardson family business. While the role will be multi-faceted, I’m especially excited to use my knowledge, understanding and contacts within the regional business community to help identify locally based businesses that the Richardson’s family business may be able to partner with in order to help them develop, grow and ultimately fulfil their full potential. 

“I’ve long championed and believed that the West Midland’s business community contains some of the most entrepreneurial and innovative businesses in the world, and this will be an exciting opportunity to explore that further. The reputation of the Richardson family in the business community is second to none.  The evolution of their business interests from a West Midlands base established over 70 years ago into a leader in real estate and growth capital with a portfolio that is embedded all over the world is truly inspirational. I am looking forward to playing my part in an exciting new chapter for the business.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Chamber.  It’s a wonderful organisation that plays a critical role in supporting businesses and the regional economy, and I am pleased the Richardson family will continue to support the Chamber in a variety of ways going forward.”

Since Mr Faulkner took up his appointment, the Chamber has seen significant growth in membership – now representing nearly 3,500 regional businesses – and strengthened its position as the leading independent support and voice for business in the area. Over the past six years many issues have been taken up successfully by the Chamber, the most recent during the Covid-19 pandemic when campaigns like “Keep Business Moving” and the “Mind the Gap” report contributed to significant changes in government policy.

There has also been a widespread programme to help businesses, especially exporters, understand and cope with the changes brought about by Brexit over the past five years. In this new role, Mr Faulkner will lead on all operational matters for the Richardson organisation across the Midlands, as it seeks out new investment opportunities in dynamic and ambitious businesses.

The appointment underscores the ongoing commitment of the Richardson family to the West Midlands, at a time when it is also continuing to develop its business portfolio across the world. Mr Faulkner oversaw the launch of the Greater Birmingham Commonwealth Chamber in 2017 as the region geared up to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022. In 2018 the Chamber’s growth and development was recognised when it was awarded the British Chambers Award for Excellence in Membership Services.

A history graduate from Cambridge University, Mr Faulkner began his career at MBNA Bank, completing the Bank’s Graduate Management Scheme and working in a variety of roles across the organisation in both the UK and the US. Following a period working as a consultant for Michael Page, he returned to the US in 2005 working for Brooklyn NY Holdings, a private family office of the Lerner family. In 2006 he was an integral part of Randy Lerner’s purchase of Aston Villa, and relocated to Birmingham to work at the club, initially as COO and then as CEO from 2010 to 2014.

Paul is a Trustee of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity, Cure Leukaemia and the City of Birmingham Rockets Basketball club.  He is also Chairman of Sport Birmingham, and vice-chair of performance Birmingham Limited (PBL) which operates the Town Hall and Symphony Hall in the city, and a Board member of Culture Central. He lives in Sutton Coldfield and is married with two young sons.