Former Shell executive James Pearson has been appointed CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), with Mr Pearson set to take the reins within the next few weeks.

Mr Pearson has formerly held roles with Shell Australia as general manager, external and government relations, and also has worked with Chevron Australia, the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, the Western Australian Department of Resources Development, and the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, and CEO of Chamber of Commerce and Industry Western Australia (CCIWA).

He replaces former ACCI CEO Kate Carnell, who has taken up the role of Federal Government’s first Small Business Ombudsman.

Australian Chamber president, Terry Wetherall, said Mr Pearson will provide strong and direct leadership for the business lobby group’s members.

“James was selected from a field of high quality candidates, reflecting the significance of the Australian Chamber’s role in speaking on behalf of the business community to government and the community. We are fortunate to have a person of James’s calibre available to advocate the issues important to members. With a federal budget imminent and election looming, the Australian Chamber is soon to release our policy issues for all political parties to consider prior to the election.”

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), said he is looking forward to continuing to build on the ARA’s strong relationship with ACCI with Mr Pearson at the helm.

“The ARA worked with Mr Pearson in his previous role as CEO of CCIWA, and I expect he will bring the same level of innovation, development and professionalism to his new role at ACCI,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Mr Pearson is a sound choice to lead the ACCI cause with an extensive business background and I look forward to progressing the ARA and ACCI’s cooperative alliance.

“I have no doubt he will be an outstanding advocate for ACCI and its members, given his understanding of the challenges and needs of those he represents.”

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