NEW SHEFFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESIDENT APPOINTED
24th January 2024
Sheffield businessman and communications specialist Alexis Krachai has been appointed as Sheffield Chamber of Commerce’s newest Chamber President.
Alexis brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role, as both Managing Director of specialist communications agency Counter Context, and a leading figure in the region’s business community.
Alexis’ 36-strong agency, which is headquartered in Sheffield, provides consultancy, public affairs and communications services to government and some of the UK’s most transformative property, energy and infrastructure companies.
He is also well-known across the city as a strong advocate for private sector leadership and driving change across the economy.
Alexis is a Non-Executive Director on the Chamber’s board. He led the organisation during the pandemic as Co-Interim Chief Executive, alongside the now permanent Chief Executive Louisa Harrison-Walker.
Alexis continues to fly the flag for Sheffield, promoting the city and shaping an agenda to make Sheffield the best place in the UK to start and grow a successful and sustainable business.
Between 2017 and 2021, Alexis led on the set up of the Sheffield Property Association (S-PA), the only formally constituted property association outside of London.
In 2019, he played a central role in the formation of the Sheffield Culture Collective which was convened through the S-PA’s leadership to drive investment in culture across the city and create the conditions for Sheffield to attract more government funding for culture.
During the pandemic, he also co-chaired Sheffield’s Covid-19 Business Recovery Group which formulated the first economic (recovery) plan approved by Sheffield City Council in over a decade. Most recently, he has worked with colleagues across the city to oversee a process formulating a series of Sheffield City Goals.
Alexis took over from the outgoing President Karen Mosley, Managing Director of HLM Architects, at the Chamber’s AGM this week. The AGM took place at Henry Boot PLC’s new office in Isaacs Building, part of the Heart of the City development.
At this event, Alexis outlined his plans for his upcoming two-year term, with a focus on supporting businesses and spearheading cultural investment in Sheffield.
His priorities include representing Chamber members when they need support and a strong voice to advocate for their interests with local and central government. He will continue to bring constructive challenge to drive change in the city economy and help deliver wider prosperity.
In his term, Alexis will be focussing his efforts on advocating that Sheffield has a long-term plan to retain and attract talented people by driving greater investment into culture across the city.
Alexis Krachai, new Chamber President, said: “I am honoured to take on the responsibility of being President of the Chamber and representing our members. Sheffield has momentum but, like many cities, it must wrestle with many challenges that will impact on businesses and the wider economy over the coming years.
“I am naturally optimistic and upbeat. Together there is nothing we cannot achieve in Sheffield, but we must not dodge the difficult conversations about how to build greater strength and resilience in our economy. Without a stronger economy we cannot address the inequality in the city or face the mounting challenges like energy and food price rises and the impacts of extreme weather.
“My focus on driving investment in culture stems from so many conversations over the years – culture will be the answer to many of Sheffield’s questions. Investment in culture is what brings people together and makes for an amazing place to live and work. Investment in culture is all about celebrating diverse communities and ensuring our city and district centres are always buzzing. Over time, a buzzing city creates more jobs, more businesses and wider prosperity.
“Sheffield does not get enough funding for culture from government. The solution to that starts with us locally. I will be working hard to make the case that local businesses have such an important role to play by investing in culture and making Sheffield one of the most exciting and interesting places to be 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“There are many challenges across the UK and wider world but Sheffield has momentum. For me the Presidency is all about having a positive impact and working with others in the business community to help build on that momentum, whether it involves lobbying for our business community, grasping opportunities, or asking the difficult questions.”
Attendees at the AGM saw Karen remove her presidential chain and hand it to Alexis in a ceremonial act to pass-the-baton to the new Chamber President.
Following two years as President, Karen has spent her term unlocking the untapped potential in Sheffield’s communities. She not only championed skills improvement, but also organised outreach to help make it easier for younger people in Sheffield to find the job – or start the business – that changes their life.
In her time as longest serving President (outside of wartime, due to the lengthening of the presidency term), Karen has managed to achieve a great amount. She chaired the Skills Accelerator Advisory Board which supported the development of the Local Skills Improvement Plan.
Karen also co-chairs the South Yorkshire Skills Advisory Board on behalf of the Chamber. This acts as a skills-focused forum providing insight and advice to support the decision making processes of the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority and supporting the prioritisation of the recommendations from the Local Skills Improvement Plan and other key initiatives.
Karen’s second area of focus was on amplifying the benefits of employee ownership. This has seen her working with the South Yorkshire Ownership Hub and the Chamber to make it easier for more businesses starting up or transitioning to this inclusive business model, with a number of Chamber members taking advantage of this route during the last year.
Karen Mosley, Outgoing Chamber President, said: “Skills development and employee ownership are inextricably linked. Both unlock potential, drive a more inclusive and prosperous economy, develop our workforce for the future, recycle more wealth in our local communities and enable business ownership and higher value jobs to remain rooted in our region.
“During my time as Chamber President we have seen great progress in breaking down barriers for young people. With the help of our Chamber members, we’ve been able to turn policy into funding and an action plan to create a more agile skills system, unleashing more talent to provide real business benefit.”
The AGM was also an opportunity for SCCI and its members to celebrate the successes of the past year, recognise the achievements made by Karen, welcome new council and board members, and review financial performance over the last 12 months.
During this, members took the opportunity to give thanks to those of Chamber board and council whose terms have come to an end. They celebrated Charles Turner, Dan Broadbent, Nick Pearson, Hermann Beck and Dan Shore, who have all completed their terms on Chamber Council.
James Berry and Martin McKervey have stepped down from the Board of Directors following the completion of their three-year terms, and Grace Brierley, has also completed two terms on Council and a term as Chair of the Nominations Committee.
Like many other Chambers around the UK, Sheffield Chamber is made up of a community of board members, council members, patrons, and champions.
Being a part of this community is where the action is and it’s where businesspeople from around the region can share their expertise and insight to shape what the organisation has to say on prominent issues.
For more than 150 years, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce has supported, connected, and represented local businesses of all sizes in Sheffield with an aim to lead the way in making the city the best place in the UK to start, grow and run a successful and sustainable business.