CUMBRIA’S Chamber of Commerce will bid farewell to one of its most loyal servants after 15 years of service.

Chief Executive Rob Johnston has announced he will be retiring from the position at the end of December.

He will take on a new role as a non-executive director.

Rob released a statement on his departure.

He said: “At the end of this month, I will retire after 15 years as Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce.

“When I took the job, I came with a background in industry but only a scant knowledge of the Chamber network. Over time, I’ve come to appreciate how Chambers can make a real difference for businesses.

“I’ve witnessed how Chambers can influence Government. I’ve taken part in conference calls with other Chamber CEOs, spelling out to ministers the issues faced by businesses during the pandemic, and I’ve seen those conversations lead to interventions to better target funding to meet businesses’ needs.

“Alongside my role as Chamber CEO, I’ve been honoured to serve on the board of the Regional Learning and Skills Council, as a director of the North West Regional Development Agency and then, following its abolition, to play a pivotal role in establishing Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership.”

“Signing off as Chief Executive is quite an emotional moment. The Chamber has been a fundamental part of my life, 24-7, for these last 15 years. I’ve enjoyed representing, and working with, so many fantastic businesses and behind those businesses exceptional people who, through their hard and work and enterprise, create the wealth that underpins the fabric of our society. It has been an enormous privilege and a pleasure. I wish you, your families and your businesses a happy Christmas and all the very best for the future.”