Marketing Birmingham names CEO

Tourism and inward investment body Marketing Birmingham has poached Neil Rami – chief executive at the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative – to fill its CEO position.

Rami is to take up the role in October, stepping into the shoes of interim chief executive, former Aston Villa FC deputy chief executive Mark Ansell.

The move will see Rami take up the reins at the country’s largest leisure and business tourism and inward investment agency to promote Birmingham both in the UK and across the globe.

The agency also promotes Birmingham as a gateway to central England.

Rami will report to the board and to chairman Ian Squires, and will be responsible for running the organisation, which has just under 100 employees.

When Rami joins, Marketing Birmingham is expected to begin its hunt for a head of comms, following the exit of Nicola Poultney (PRWeek, 2 February) to Experience Nottingham.

Poultney followed in the footsteps of former chief executive Dr John Heeley, who joined Experience Nottingham as CEO last October. The interim head of comms is Elizabeth Clifford, who continues to be comms boss at Birmingham NEC.

Before the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, Rami was deputy chief executive at the Mersey Partnership and before that worked at the Widnes Runcorn Development Agency.

He is credited with transforming the image of Newcastle and Gateshead from an industrial wasteland to a thrusting centre of urban renewal. Rami described his new role as ‘the biggest job in city marketing’.

Newcastle and Birmingham lost out to Liverpool in the bid to become 2008 European Capital of Culture.

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