Former Austrade Commissioner Chris Rodwell starts his role today as CCIWA’s new CEO.

Rodwell replaces outgoing CEO Deidre Willmott, who has been at the helm of WA’s peak advocate for business since 2014.

Rodwell has spent the past four years as Australia’s Trade Commissioner to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean managing one of the biggest transformations in commercial relationships between the two regions.

Prior to his role at Austrade, he was the Queensland State Government’s Trade and Investment Commissioner for the Americas and the Director of Australian Industry Group in Queensland.

CCI President Ray Sputore says Rodwell is respected across the political spectrum and has a proven track record in successfully building relationships across business and government, domestically and internationally.

“This sits alongside his success in leading organisational enhancement,” Sputore says.

Rodwell said it is an honour to be appointed Chief Executive Officer of CCIWA.
“It is CCI’s Members and the WA business community that underpin WA’s prosperity. They are essential to building not only our economy, but also the communities in which they operate,” Mr Rodwell said.

Wilmott finishes later this month, leaving behind a strong legacy of advocating for business.

At her Lighthouse Leadership event in December, she detailed some of her proudest achievements as CEO which included leading the organisation through a reform program that left it more agile and sustainable.

She also detailed the challenges the state faced and what the State Government needed to do to encourage growth and reduce debt. 

“They’ve got a huge challenge – they’ve inherited a large debt and they’re going to have to be extremely disciplined in how they manage the government to realise their planned savings,” she said.

“They need to demonstrate that discipline within the state budget and they need to make sure that their policies around jobs and diversification are supported appropriately.

“I think the premier’s recent tour to China representing education and tourism was good – they need to do more of that sort of work.

“They also need to make sure business can progress with what they need to do and make sure they ask themselves ‘Why not?’ rather than ‘Why?’ when somebody wants to do something innovative in terms of investment and business opportunity.”