West Midlands Growth Company announces new appointments

The West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC) has announced two new appointments to boost its promotional activity. The WMGC is responsible for attracting more visitors, investment, businesses and events to the region.

The appointments from the private sector are Fiona Allan, artistic director and chief executive of Birmingham Hippodrome, who has become chair for the regional board for tourism. And Dr Jason Wouhra, director of East End Foods, who will become chair for a new West Midlands India partnership.

With more than 20 years’ experience in the tourism sector, Ms Allan will be tasked with overseeing the region’s delivery of its £1bn tourism strategy, which was launched in September 2019.

The new West Midlands India Partnership will aim to raise awareness of the West Midlands in India, and try to increase investment and visitors to the region. Dr Wouhra believes that it is vital that the West Midlands creates strong relationships with overseas businesses and stakeholders.

The appointments were announced at the WMGC’s annual review, which took place in November at IET Birmingham with more than 130 senior stakeholders from across the region attending.

The review provided a round-up of WMGC activity throughout the year, which included 155 new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in the region, creating 5,044 associated jobs, and the launch of the £1bn regional tourism strategy following a record 131 million visitors to the West Midlands last year.

Discussions on future plans for the region were also held at the event. Chief executive of the WMGC, Neil Rami, said: “The West Midlands’ future success depends on the private and public sector continuing to work closely together. With major events such as Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 and 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games on the horizon, joining forces with industry will enable us to maximise the economic opportunities these milestones will bring.

“Committees such as the West Midlands India Partnership and the Regional Board for Tourism will provide our partners with new opportunities to shape how our region is showcased both in the UK and internationally. Using the considerable insight and enthusiasm of both Fiona and Jason demonstrates how we can collectively sustain a unified push for the region.”