Marketing Birmingham appoints interim chief

Marketing Birmingham, the public-private partnership promoting Britain’s second city, has drafted in former Aston Villa FC deputy chief executive Mark Ansell as interim chief executive.

The move is part of a shake-up of the city’s marketing and comms functions in its bid to attract more tourism and investment.

Ansell replaces head of comms Nicola Poultney and finance director Mike White, who have shared the role of acting chief exec since John Heley left in October to head Nottingham’s marketing board. Poultney and White will continue in their original posts, reporting to Ansell.

The 100-strong PR team also includes head of business tourism Carol O’Reilly and head of leisure tourism Maureen McAllister.

‘What this organisation wants is a professional business manager. That is what I am,’ said Ansell, who will hold the post for an initial three months, while the partnership continues hunting for a permanent CEO.

Ansell added: ‘Part of my remit is to see if the team is structured appropriately.’ He said it was too early to say if this would mean expanding or contracting it.

Marketing Birmingham’s main aim is to capitalise on its sporting, exhibition and tourism facilities to win more international visitors.

‘If we don’t promote Birmingham properly, we shouldn’t be disappointed when the Americans take the next big conference to Manchester,’ Ansell said.

Marketing Birmingham chairman Bob Gilbert said the partnership had given Birmingham its own brand, in the form of a large letter ‘B’ logo. This has been incorporated into the communications of local government bodies and other institutions.

It has also set up a ‘champions programme’, part-funded by regional development agency Advantage West Midlands, which invites business and professional leaders to promote Birmingham.

‘Mark has been brought in because we want to make sure our structures and the way we operate are the best they can be,’ said Gilbert.

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