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Hampshire Chamber of Commerce chief Jimmy Chestnutt to retire
HE has been a figurehead for business across Hampshire for nearly ten years.
But after being at the forefront of trade and industry in the region for close to a decade, Jimmy Chestnutt has announced he is to retire as chief executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.
By 2010, a historic merger had taken place where the organisation merged with its rivals to create one of the biggest business groups of its type in the country.
Today the Chamber has more than 1,500 members and represents the interests of tens of thousands of people.
Over the years, the 70- year-old has been a crucial voice standing up for commerce in Hampshire, speaking out in support of both small start-up companies and big established businesses alike.
Highlights included travelling to 10 Downing Street as Southampton became embroiled in a cruise war with Liverpool.
Cpt Chestnutt, who commanded three warships in his 32-year career with the Royal Navy, was part of a delegation that headed to the Prime Minister’s home in 2011 to hand over a petition containing 15,000 names.
The petition was opposing moves being made by Liverpool to muscle in on the lucrative cruise trade by using public funds to host start and finish cruise holidays from the city.
Reflecting on his spell in charge, the former Southampton harbour master told the Daily Echo: “It has been a fabulous chamber to lead and an enormous responsibility.
“When we have been able to help, it has been with a great sense of satisfaction, from the very largest companies to the smallest we have helped with planning applications, helping people expand and helping to stop them from going under.
“There has been lots of really important achievements by the Chamber that fill me a great sense of pride.”
Mr Chestnutt, who spent 11 years with port owner Associated British Ports, said he was likely to retire before the end of this financial year.
A recruitment process is now in place to find a successor.
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