An international business leader and nationally acclaimed Chamber of Commerce chief executive have been appointed to two key roles at a leading Midlands college group.
Anna Daroy, who lives in Worcestershire, has been appointed to Chair the Corporation Board and Louise Bennett OBE, also Worcestershire based, has been appointed as President for college group WCG – which includes six colleges across Warwickshire and Worcestershire.
The board chair ensures the board effectively discharges its duties and that the board works with the senior leadership team to execute strategy, while the President is unique to WCG and is focused on working with the CEO and Chair to build external relationships with stakeholders.
Anna will be following in the footsteps of Peter Manford, whose term of office ended after 14 years’ service to the college group. Peter was Chair during challenging times including the last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Anna started her career with EY, before joining IBM and then becoming Vice President of Mercer Consulting. She was most recently interim CEO/Director General of the Institute of Directors and interim COO of the Government of Jersey.
For more than 30 years, she has worked in both the private and public sector, leading organisations and industries through complex and transformational challenges, and is currently a council member of the UK Rural Policy Group.
“I’m very excited to have taken this new role and it is an honour to follow Peter Manford, who has done fantastic work for the college group during his time as Chair,” she said.
“WCG is rich in what it offers, its rich in its staff, its students and its access to local employers. I’m proud to have been appointed as Chair and look forward to continuing to support the development of the college group.”
Louise Bennett was awarded an OBE for her services to enterprise and led Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce as its chief executive for nearly 20 years – a role which has seen her work closely with WCG.
She had previously spent four years with Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, following a varied career which saw her hold senior management roles in an acute hospital, retail and running her own business. She is a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands and is the immediate past High Sheriff of the County of the West Midlands 2021
Louise has recently been appointed as Chair for the British Chambers of Commerce Local Skills Improvement Plans Group, in response to the Skills Act 2022.
Louise added: “I’ve always been passionate about the need for people to be supported with learning, development and training opportunities.
“Our colleges underpin the economy, they are the foundations of everything businesses do – supporting innovation, creativity and much more.
“I’m flattered to have been appointed into such a unique role and will be working in partnership with the board and senior leadership team to support the group’s strategic goals and enhance its reputation with Government and national decision makers.”
Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG, said: “We would like to thank Peter for his incredible service to the college group as Chair for the last five years and Vice-chair for nine years before that.
“He has been a trusted advisor to myself and the senior leadership team during that time and played an integral role in getting the college group to where it is today.
“The President role is a great addition to our governance structures and Louise brings a wealth of knowledge from her business links, especially of current national skills policy. We are very fortunate that Louise is joining us after her longstanding and successful career at the Chamber of Commerce”
“I look forward to working with Anna, Louise and the Corporation Board as we implement the ambitions set out in the Corporate Plan.”