Albert has big shoes to fill as he steps up to become Chamber’s 111th President
THE Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce welcomed its new President, Albert Weatherill, at its AGM as he inherited the Chain of Office from Mike Whitehead.
The Chamber’s 111th President since it was founded in 1837. Albert joined the Merchant Navy as a young man, before becoming a ship’s deck officer. When he came ashore he joined a marine surveying company, McAusland & Turner where he stayed for 40 years, working his way up through the company to become its managing director and owner, growing the business and taking it international. He is also the Chairman of the Chamber’s Shipping, Transport and Renewables Committee.
Albert’s Vice President for the year is Kirk Akdemir, the managing director of AaGlobal, a translation business which has made its home in Hull after starting out in Worcester. AaGlobal has recently undergone a rebranding exercise to celebrate its 30 years in business.
Albert’s connection to the Chamber goes back 40 years and he is proud of the fact this Chamber is the only one in the UK to have a Shipping, Transport and Renewables Committee. Albert promised to do his best during his year of office as the President of what he described as “a truly great organisation”.
“The Chamber is led by an excellent Chief Executive in Ian Kelly and represents an eclectic mix of businesses which belong to it from all around the Humber. The Hull & Humber Chamber is ranked fifth financially in the UK and includes most of the biggest businesses in the area in its membership. You look at some of the esteemed Past Presidents’ names on the website, and you become aware that you’ve got some big shoes to fill in this role.
“The Chamber really does fight the corner of all businesses, large or small, within its membership.
“I come from a marine background so my focus will be on the shipping side and it needs to be. The River Humber is pivotal to the Humber economy and links flow from our past to our future. Immingham, for example, is the biggest port by tonnage in the UK and the Humber is the fourth largest port complex in Europe with 40,000 shipping movements a year.
“There is a lot of industry, and a lot of environmental cost, with the area being the highest emitter of CO2 in the UK, but it is also a global leader in renewables. As the Government moves to Net Zero, there is £15-billion being committed to reduce and capture CO2, not from Government, but from local businesses. The world is watching what we do here. The World Economic Forum which meets every year in Davos, highlighted two areas globally which are leading on renewables and carbon capture, one is in China, and the other is the Humber. This attention brings prosperity and jobs. There will be 10 years of construction to build a pipeline to capture our CO2 and that one project will create 10,000 jobs. And did you know, 25% of all the rain that falls on England flows out through the Humber – it’s a centre point of all we do”.
Before handing over the Chain of Office to Albert, Mike Whitehead thanked the Chamber team for their hard work in supporting him during his year as President.
“Only as President do you realise how important the Chamber is to the business community – it is the only pan Humber, non taxpayer funded membership organisation, it does a fantastic job – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – this Chamber is the Voice of Business in the Humber!
“During my year as President, I’ve attended three Parliamentary dinners and been involved with devolution, Net Zero ambitions and Freeports. I’ve welcomed Government Ministers, the Governor of the Bank of England, delivered a lecture to Hull University students and flown on the inaugural flight to Esbjerg from Humberside Airport.
“My biggest achievement was to play a part in promoting the Chamber, North and South of the Humber and have enjoyed being part of the strong Chamber team, led by Ian.
“My most embarrassing moment was humming the theme tune of The Sweeney to the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, who said it was the most bizarre introduction he had ever had! I thought it would be funny as one of the characters in The Sweeney TV series used to call his boss the Guv’nor!”
Mike said other highlights included a fascinating meeting with Ed Milliband which saw the Chamber bring together some of the biggest businesses in the region and attending the Chamber’s Business Awards evenings in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole, as well as the Chamber Race day at Market Rasen in the summer.
PICTURE CAPTION: The Chamber’s new President, Albert Weatherill (right) and Vice President Kirk Akdemir (left) pictured with the Police and Crime Commissioner for Humberside, Jonathan Evison at MKM Stadium.