John Bridge OBE DL announces he is stepping down as Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce

February 15, 2021

After an outstanding 17 years as Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, John Bridge OBE DL has announced that he will be stepping down from the role at the end of April 2021 to focus on new ventures and related projects.

John’s decision comes as our region starts to prepare for a new post-pandemic era. It is his belief that, having successfully navigated the challenges of the pandemic and launched the Local Business/ Global Trade Champion initiative in 2020 – laying the groundwork for our businesses to come together and build a different, more inclusive future for themselves – this is the right time to be handing the Chief Executive ‘baton’ on.

Since becoming Chief Executive in January 2004, John has enabled the Chamber to go from strength to strength, developing it into a vibrant, member-focussed organisation, whilst also enhancing the relationships with key private and public sector bodies. He was also privileged to lead the Chamber 100 Year celebrations in 2017.

With a wealth of business knowledge and experience, John has been committed to driving the region’s economic success – engaging with our local businesses through to expanding global trade opportunities, ensuring that businesses always have the support, services and connections to thrive particularly now with the change of EU trading relationships.

His defining legacy, however, is undoubtedly the £1.5bn upgrade of the notorious A14 dual carriageway, which John campaigned tirelessly and doggedly for – for over 22 years!

He first raised the importance of the essential upgrade in an interview with BBC Look East back in 1994 when he was still Eastern & Southern Regional Chairman of the Road Haulage Association. But John never gave up – believing, rightly, that an upgrade would combat congestion, improve safety and quality of life, unlock growth and, most importantly, connect people. And, some 22 years later, in November 2016, work finally started on the road’s treacherous Cambridge to Huntingdon stretch, and completed last May (2020).

Of course, John’s dedication to duty hasn’t just been confined to Cambridgeshire or the Chamber of Commerce.

In October 2014, John was honoured to be appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant to the HM Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, now Mrs Julie Spence OBE QPM, the Queen’s representative for Cambridgeshire, assisting her in the performance of any public duty across the county.

Before that, from 2008, John was the proud Chairman of Opportunity Peterborough, a role he performed for almost nine years, driving the momentum as well as the economic vision and aspirations for Peterborough.

Between 2011 – 2018, he also served as Director, and later Chair, of the Nominations & Remuneration Committee and Local Transport Panel for the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

In stepping down as Chief Executive, John will remain engaged in related projects, which will enable him to use his skills and contacts as he continues to serve the region.

He says: “I’ve enjoyed a long and terrific run as Chief Executive, and I’ve had the privilege of working with the most fantastic people at the Chamber and across the region. For me, it’s always been about team, collaboration and cooperation and I am immensely proud of all that we have achieved together over the last 17 years – from the vital A14 road upgrade through to simply elevating the region’s individual business voices.”

Brian Jones, Chairman of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, said: “John has been a most committed and determined Chief Executive, always with the region’s best interests at heart – and his very significant contribution to the county is clear in all that he has achieved while he’s been at the helm. We wish John every success with his new ventures and are delighted that he will continue to work closely with the Chamber on a number of related projects in the future.”

John will remain as Chief Executive until 1 May 2021 when former diplomat Vic Annells, currently Executive Director of Mansion House & the Central Criminal Court, will take over the Chief Executive role.