Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Chamber has elected its new president, Phil Stanyer, a business consultant with many years' service both in the motor trade and other sectors.
He takes over "at a time when the pressures on business have never been greater", according to Richard Horsley, who stands down from the post but who will continue to serve on the Chamber (DNCC) board.
Mr Horsley said: "It has been a very demanding year for DNCC which has had to move very quickly from building the new Chamber, and therefore being internally focused, to embracing partners and Government at all levels and providing a stream of information and ideas on behalf of the business community.
"Our influence has grown enormously. DNCC is now seen as not only being important locally in all parts of both counties: it is now seen as the regional Chamber for the East Midlands; is one of seven core city Chambers nationally and is building on its international links with other key Chambers, particularly in Europe but also elsewhere around the globe. All of this is bringing more advantage and opportunities for our members."
Mr Stanyer served on the former Nottinghamshire Chamber Board and played a leading role in the merger negotiations with Derbyshire. Since the merger, he has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Chamber.
He said: "It is a great honour for me to accept this role. The challenge for me is to build on the hard work of the last two years and for me to help make DNCC a centre of excellence, showcasing the world class companies that are located in our two cities and two counties.
"I hope that during my term of office, irrespective of the national and international economic climate, which is outside our control, we can assist companies to weather the storm; that we can promote a spirit of enterprise; we can make jobs and training a priority and we can raise our eyes to embrace the many international opportunities available for the Chamber and its member companies."
He said the Chamber was developing a business plan for 2009/10 with all these threads woven into it.
Three key members of the Chamber board have stood down: John Thompson and Rod Shiers, both previous presidents of Derbyshire Chamber, and Ron Buchanan who has served Nottinghamshire.
Subject to a vote, Richard Wilkins will be vice-president, David Merifield takes over as chairman of the HR, Audit & Remuneration Committee, Ian Morgan, commercial manager of Trent Barton bus company, will be deputy vice-president and Chris Marsden of Marsden Walker and Alan Armstrong of NSK Europe have been re-elected to the board.
Russell Thompson of BRM Solicitors, Alan Rutherford of the University of Derby, and Geoff Poyzer of North Midland Construction have been elected to the board.