New Business West chair says the organisation can make ‘a real difference to region’s economy’

July 21, 2022

One of Bath’s best-known business figures, YTL UK chief executive officer Colin Skellett, has become chair of the regional business organisation behind Bath Chamber of Commerce.

Business West is one of the UK’s most influential business leadership organisations, representing more than 21,000 businesses across the South West, including through its network of chambers of commerce. 

It also runs information and advice services, stages networking events and offers international trade support.

A scientist and engineer by training who has worked largely in the water industry for more than 40 years, Mr Skellett, pictured, has become a key figure in regional organisations, serving on the board of the South West Regional Development Agency and as chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) until 2016.

He said: “Business West has a great track record of working in partnership to deliver real change to the benefit of this region. 

“We are a powerful voice – if you look at the number of members and area we cover, we are one of the most powerful chambers in the country. 

Levelling up, climate change and regeneration are all areas where we can make a real difference. 

“We also need to identify the big new opportunities such as hydrogen or low carbon technologies. Business is the engine that drives economic growth, and we have a key part to play.”

Mr Skellett was awarded an OBE for services to business and the charity WaterAid in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours and has Honorary Doctorates in Engineering from the universities of the West of England (UWE) and Bristol.

He left school at 16, with his first job at a Nottingham sewage plant. Having worked his way up through the industry he became chief executive of Bath-headquartered Wessex Water in 1988 to prepare it for privatisation.

He later handled its sale to Malaysian conglomerate YTL, which also owns Bath’s Thermae Bath Spa and the neighbouring Gainsborough Hotel and is now transforming the former Filton Airfield in Bristol into a major housing and arena complex.


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