New chief executive unveiled by Harrogate Chamber of Commerce with pledge to 'give strong voice to businesses'

A Harrogate PR director has become the new chief executive of Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce with a pledge to 'give a strong voice to businesses'.
Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce's new chief executive David Simister, left, and the Chamber President, Martin Gerrard.Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce's new chief executive David Simister, left, and the Chamber President, Martin Gerrard.
Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce's new chief executive David Simister, left, and the Chamber President, Martin Gerrard.

David Simister, who co-founded Different PR in the town in 2006, has taken over the reins of the long-running business organisation from outgoing CEO, Sandra Doherty.

Harrogate born and bred, he began his working life in he town’s hospitality sector before moving into newspapers as a reporter on the Harrogate Advertiser, Ripon Gazette and Yorkshire Post.

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Like many journalists before him, he then jumped ship into the world of public relations, learning and developing his skill at Yorkshire Water, rising from Press Officer to PR and Media Manager.

He is also a former Harrogate Borough Councillor and North Yorkshire County Councillor.

David Simister said: “It is a great honour and a privilege to be taking on the role of Chief Executive at Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce.

"This organisation is one that represents not only the businesses of Harrogate, but those of the wider district.

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"Its job is to give them a strong voice and one that will be heard, loudly and clearly, where it matters.

“Harrogate is home to a thriving and diverse business community, and I’m proud to say it’s where my business has been located for the last 15 years.

“My initial task is to plan the next 12 months, securing keynote speakers for our meetings who will share their experiences, on a wide range of issues, that will be of interest, and benefit, to members.

“I won’t deny that Covid has not had an impact on the Chamber, and another crucial task is to grow our membership.

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"With the lifting of restrictions next month, we can once again meet in person, and it is the networking opportunities we offer that appeal to so many businesses.”

Mr Simister added: I'd like to pay tribute to Sandra for superbly leading the organisation over the last five years, and in particularly the last 12 months which have been extremely challenging for everybody.

“I'm now looking forward to working with President, Martin Gerrard, and the Chamber’s Management Committee in driving the organisation forward, in this our 125th year.”

Harrogate District Chamber President Martin Gerrard said: “For the last 12 months, David has been our PR coordinator, and in that time he has grasped a thorough understanding of the Chamber.

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“When Sandra announced her imminent retirement, I asked David if he would consider taking on the role.

"He is incredibly passionate about Harrogate, his business is based here, he’s very well connected and knows the political landscape well.

“I’m delighted he agreed, and look forward to working with him as Harrogate District Chamber begins another chapter in its long history.

“I, too, want to pay tribute to Sandra Doherty for all her hard work and efforts in leading the Chamber for the last five years.

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“She has been a fantastic ambassador for the organisation, and we wish her well in her retirement as she makes a new life for herself in Northumberland."

Further information about Harrogate & District Chamber of Commerce is available from its website;

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