Government and Politics

James Pearson named chief executive of Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Eloise Keating /

James Pearson will serve as the next chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

While there was speculation former small business minister Bruce Billson would take on the leadership position at the Australian Chamber, the Chamber said this morning Pearson will replace Kate Carnell in the role “within the next few weeks”.

Carnell has commenced in her role as the inaugural Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

Pearson is a senior executive at Shell Australia and the former chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Western Australia. He has previously worked for Chevron Australia, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, the Western Australian Department of Resource Development and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“James comes to the Chamber with a wealth of experience in both the private and public sector,” said Australian Chamber president Terry Wetherall in the statement.

“James was selected from a field of high quality candidates, reflecting the significance of the Australian Chamber’s role in speaking on behalf of the business community to government and the community.

“We are fortunate to have a person of James’s calibre available to advocate the issues important to members.

“No change in direction”

Speaking to SmartCompany this morning, Wetherall says the Australian Chamber will continue to represent businesses of all sizes, including SMEs, under Pearson’s leadership.

“The reality is, we represent all size businesses but the majority of businesses across the country are SMEs,” he says.

“There will be no change of direction in the course we’re following and there will be no reduction in momentum.”

The Australian Chamber will release its list of pre-election policy issues in the coming weeks and while Wetherall did not specify what the list will contain, he says the Chamber is focused on industrial reform, infrastructure and overall economic improvement.

“We will be looking at policy over the longer term as it is hard to get change in one term of government,” he says.

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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