Pietermaritzburg Business Chamber to get first woman CEO

2010-12-15 00:00

THE head of Pietermaritzburg Tourism, Melanie Veness, will take over as the chief executive officer of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) on February 1.

Veness will be the first female CEO of the chamber.

Outgoing CEO Andrew Layman leaves to head the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Veness told The Witness yesterday she is honoured to be entrusted with the position and hopes to make a meaningful contribution to the city.

She has spent more than 24 years in Pietermaritzburg and has built a reputation for her enthusiasm and passion for the city.

“Pietermaritzburg is an incredible city. It is big enough to be a city and there is so much good in it. Business is still based on relationships. We have a great chamber and great schools. The city has had a difficult year, but it is still a good place.”

Veness praised the work done by Layman, who has “laid an incredible foundation” in ensuring that the PCB remains one of the top chambers in South Africa.

Her appointment follows a successful decade at the helm of the city’s tourism outfit.

Veness is the midlands president of Skål International, a professional organisation of tourism leaders, and chaired the KZN Community Tourism Association from 2006 to 2009.

She was selected as one of the semi-finalists in the 2009/2010 Most Influential Women in Business and Government awards.

PCB president Tinus Havinga described the move as “exactly right for the chamber at this time”.

“Melanie’s experience as the director of a service NGO is well aligned to the requirements of the PCB’s top job. She has earned considerable respect and admiration for the way in which she has lobbied on behalf of the members she has represented.

“She has developed and nurtured Pietermaritzburg Tourism through difficult times and despite the paucity of grant funding from the municipality,” Havinga said in a statement issued yesterday.

“The Chamber expects that its members will support the new CEO as a person whose credibility in the city is high and whose capabilities will ensure the ongoing success and development of the Chamber and the business community,” the PCB stated.

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