A LEADING business figure has been appointed as the new president of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.

Peter Taylor, managing partner of regional law firm Paris Smith, has taken the helm from David Joel who stepped down after three years in the voluntary role.

The Chamber also announced the appointment of Liane Brien, chair of its Andover business strategy group, as a non-executive director.

Ms Brien is an expert in banking.

Speaking at the organisation’s annual general meeting, held via Zoom, president Mr Taylor pledged to help businesses across the county “grow and connect”.

He said: “The Chamber is the voice of business in Hampshire. Together we can make a significant difference in helping to build a thriving business environment and ensuring future generations can flourish.

“I will work as hard as I possibly can to be visible across the county understanding what the challenges and synergies are.”

Paying tribute to his predecessor, Peter said: “David will be a hard act to follow. He has served the Chamber with an amazing sense of values, respect, honesty and integrity. He has never shied away from difficult decisions."

“David has been particularly instrumental in ensuring businesses have been able to access the support they have needed over the past 18 months. We owe him a great deal of thanks.”