New non-executive directors join Business West

By Barrie Hudson - 11 January 2021


The board of Business West has added three new members to help lead the influential business representative organisation throughout 2021 and beyond.

  • From left: Ade Adebayo, Martin Shelford and Poku Osei

    From left: Ade Adebayo, Martin Shelford and Poku Osei

Following a challenging year for the business community, Ade Adebayo, Martin Shelford and Poku Osei will bring a wealth of talent and experience to a board made up senior business figures from across the region.

The successful candidates were selected with the help of BeOnBoard, who managed the recruitment process and enabled Business West to access a wide talent pool representing the full range of the region’s business communities.

New member Ade Adebayo is an Audit Senior Manager at Nationwide who also serves as an Independent Member of the Audit Committee of Bristol City Council. He enjoys coaching, mentoring and inspiring individuals to become the best version of themselves.

He also works as a mentor with a Bristol charity that supports ex-offenders in reintegrating effectively into society.

He said: “I'm delighted to be joining the Business West board at such an interesting time. I am very proud to be part of an organisation that is helping make the region the best place in the UK to live, learn and work.”

Fellow new member Martin Shelford is co-owner of Rocko, a consultancy working with Tech SMEs.

Business West says Mr Shelford comes with a host of experience within retail, supply chain and tech. He is passionate about diversity and inclusion, the South West and working with companies to adapt and thrive in the challenging world in which we operate.

He said: "“I'm thrilled to join the board at Business West. The team do some brilliant work to support thousands of businesses in the region. 

"Given we're navigating significant economic, political and technological change at the moment, and will be for the years and decades to come, I'm looking forward to doing my bit to help the West become a leading region in diversity, opportunity and innovation.”

The third new member is Poku Osei, an entrepreneur with skills and experience across many sectors in Bristol and the South West at board and consultancy level. 

He is the Founder and CEO of Babbasa, which supports underrepresented young people in the UK, and has received many personal awards for work he has done for communities, diversity and inclusion. 

Business West Managing Director Phil Smith said: “The world is changing dramatically, and our board is very conscious that to remain credible and effective, Business West needs to know what’s going on in all parts of our business community: their concerns and hopes. 

"We need to be able to support and respond. We manage to reach out, through many great projects, deep into our communities, but sometimes struggle to truly interpret and/or act on the messages we are getting. Too often we end up prioritising what we already know and care about.

“Historically, Business West has drawn its selection of non-executive directors from our extensive, but usual, range of contacts. This time around we were determined both to avoid this echo chamber by prospecting in new pools, and also to take care to properly describe the talents we were looking to recruit.

“Recruiting in your own image is a very difficult instinct to break. However, whilst all seven shortlisted were outstanding, three, we felt, really suited our board’s current needs. 

"We ended up making offers to three candidates, as we thought each brought something extra that our current board doesn’t possess. I’m pleased to say all have accepted and will join our board meeting in January.”

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