Two temporary bosses take over at Sheffield Chamber as city battles back from lockdown
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PR man Alexis Krachai and recruiter Louisa Harrison-Walker are the new ‘interim executive directors’ of the business organisation as the city battles to recover from lockdown.
They will each work two days-a-week in the job while a search is mounted for a new leader - which could take up to 18 months. Both have had senior positions at the chamber for years.
The top post has been vacant since operations director Stella Steele left in March after just four months, saying it didn’t meet her career aspirations.
It left the two top positions vacant after Richard Wright retired as director of policy and representation in January.
Mr Krachai, chief executive of PR firm Counter Context, said they had stepped in to provide additional executive support to a team that has 39 years’ of experience.
Their aim was to delight members, grow membership and articulate a strong and thoughtful voice for the business community, he added.
“Post-Covid the role of the Chamber is going to have to become more important as we support, connect and represent members. There are some big decisions by politicians on the way around levelling up and, with the chambers in Barnsley & Rotherham and Doncaster, we need to have a seat at the table.”
Sheffield Chamber is also going through a process of renewal, he added.
Mr Krachai is vice-president of the chamber, co-chair of the recently-established Covid-19 Business Response Group and a director of Sheffield Property Association.
Louisa Harrison Walker is the founder Benchmark recruitment company, chair of the Chamber council, regional chair at Common Purpose and chair of Sheffield City Growth Board, part of the city council.