Chamber’s new CEO looks under the KWB hood

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We were delighted when Chief Strategy Officer of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC), Henrietta Brealey, recently found time in her busy schedule to learn more about the local commercial property sector from KWB.

Henrietta caught up with KWB Director, John Bryce, and our Head of Office Agency, Malcolm Jones to discuss the office market of Greater Birmingham, and you can watch their Q&A below.

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

Of Henrietta, her interest in the office market, and the Chamber as a whole, John Bryce said: “Given the breadth and depth of her remit, it was interesting to discover that she always factors the strength and activity of the commercial property market into her assessments of an area.

“We both nodded in approval from our respective home offices, to hear Henrietta admit finding “endless fascination” in the workings of our industry.

“KWB has always enjoyed a close and productive relationship with the Chamber, but it’s the first time since I co-founded the company – back in 1989 – that one of its senior executives has demonstrated so much commitment in hearing about our story.

“We were therefore delighted when she was subsequently chosen as the youngest chief executive in her chamber’s history, a notable event for any organisation and even more so when GBCC can trace its origins back to the height of the Napoleonic wars.

“As strategy director, constantly learning more about the mood, activities and ambitions of Birmingham’s business community was a central element of Henrietta’s work, and she was visibly pleased to discover that we share her passion for research and data.”

New office market insights from KWB

It’s almost a decade since the first KWB office market analysis was published, looking at both Birmingham city centre and the Solihull/M42 out-of-town sector. In addition, we remain the only office agency to itemise and analyse individual office transactions across both geographical areas.

Night time view of Birmingham city centre offices - KWB

For the Q&A with the Chamber, we produced new analysis of the commercial property market, based on our research and our latest experience within the marketplace. Here are some of the comments we made during the interview:

  • The office market is far from dead – in part, because so many businesses have been extremely agile over the past year and so have continued to generate revenue whilst working from home. As a result, more companies have retained their office space than you might think.
  • Whilst the flexible office market has been hit hard over the past 12 months, we are likely to see large requirements for serviced office space as some businesses transition to seeking short-term flexibility.
  • Last year was not the poorest year for take-up since we began our research – that was 2012, when the economy “suffered a deeper collapse in output” during the recovery from the 2008 recession. The London 2012 Olympics played a significant role in helping the economy out of recession. We would expect Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, next year, to have a major positive impact on the economy and, potentially, the Birmingham office market.

In the short time since the interview, Henrietta Brearley has been appointed CEO of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. From all at KWB, we would like to sincerely congratulate Henrietta on her new position and this amazing achievement, and we look forward to working with her in the future.

For more information on the Birmingham office market, Solihull office market or to discuss your office requirements, please contact KWB’s Head of Office Agency, Malcolm Jones, on 0121 212 5992 and or by email to