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CBI South West’s new Deputy Regional Director Sara Tomley and Regional Director Ben Rhodes.

The CBI (@CBItweets) has appointed a new-look team to lead its South West operation and support member businesses as they look to rebuild from COVID and target a sustainable and prosperous future.

Ben Rhodes has been named as the new CBI South West Regional Director, while Sara Tomley will take on the role of Deputy Regional Director.

Ben steps up from the Deputy Director role he has held since 2017 to succeed Deborah Fraser, who has moved to a new role within the CBI. Ben has served as Acting Regional Director for the past six months.

Sara has been a Relationship Manager with the CBI for two years, and has also filled her new role on an interim basis in recent months.

Ben and Sara will continue the CBI’s crucial work supporting members in rebuilding the post-pandemic economy, and uniting businesses and broader stakeholders to campaign on key issues in one of the largest CBI regions.  

Ben Rhodes, CBI South West Regional Director, said:

“I am delighted to have been appointed as Regional Director, South West and relish this opportunity to build upon the strong regional foundations built by Deborah over the past five years.

“This is a pivotal moment for the economy across the UK. In the wake of COVID-19 and the new UK-EU relationship, and in an era of rapid technological advancement and action on the climate emergency, we have a unique opportunity to unite and define our future direction.

“South West businesses face notable challenges and we will play our part in supporting them. Closing a number of skills gaps, rolling-out digital and physical infrastructure improvements and attracting fresh investment which can enable the region to compete on a national and international stage are all vital regional priorities.

“Sara and I are ready to seize this moment and support CBI members as they overcome these challenges and grow prosperity and opportunity across the region.”

Sara Tomley, CBI South West Deputy Director, said:

“It means a great deal to me to be appointed South West Deputy Regional Director, and I am looking forward to continuing to work alongside Ben in helping CBI members to navigate the unprecedented challenges facing them.

“The South West is a region of immense talent and potential, and we’re ready to help businesses here achieve their ambitions for recovery and beyond.”

Deborah Fraser, Commercial Director – Regions & SMEs, Events and Sponsorship, said:

“I am thrilled to confirm the permanent appointments of Ben and Sara, and am confident both will prove to be major assets for the South West’s business community in the years ahead.

“There is no doubt that this is a challenging time for industry, as the UK looks to bounce back from COVID and overcome the climate emergency. However, the South West is uniquely placed to embrace this challenge, and is equipped to play a leading role in establishing the UK as a global superpower in green industries.

“Ben, Sara and the CBI team stand ready to support South West businesses along their journey towards an equitable and sustainable future.”

Adrian Bratt, CBI South West Regional Chair, said:

“I am pleased that Ben and Sara have accepted these important positions at the forefront of the CBI in the South West. They will bring a wealth of experience to their roles, as well as strong relationships through the CBI member community.

“Throughout the past four years, Ben has worked closely with Deborah and the wider CBI team to ensure members across the region are well informed, able to mitigate risks, ready to take advantage of opportunities, and equipped to influence Government policy to support regional enterprise. Ben and Sara’s knowledge of members, stakeholders and the regional economy puts the team in a great position to further grow CBI influence at this crucial time.

“I look forward to working closely with Ben, Sara, and the South West team, during my tenure as regional chair.”

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