CEO survival instincts

Fremantle Chamber of Commerce chief executive Olwyn Williams. Picture: Martin Kennealey
Fremantle Chamber of Commerce chief executive Olwyn Williams. Picture: Martin Kennealey

The former Taxi Council of WA chief executive is closing in on her second month in Fremantle, but said she is already in love with the job.

‘It was the business diversity of the Fremantle region that got me in,’ she said.

‘The commercial landscape of Fremantle is incredible, from the industrial operations of the Port, tourism, the marine industries that follow the coastline down to Henderson, manufacturing and industrial services inland, as well as the commercial, hospitality and retail precincts across the city,’ she said.

With a background in transport, retail and the cultural sector, replacing Tim Milsom as chamber chief executive was almost a perfect fit for Ms Williams.

As she starts to make the rounds of local business, Ms Williams said she would concentrate on helping Fremantle survive the down cycle of the resource sector.

‘On the street front, one can’t just point to the resources downturn as the main reason,’ she said.

‘It has been a much longer and obvious slump.

‘Fremantle may well have an average number of shop- front vacancies but it is where the vacancies are clustered that doesn’t make for good visuals.

‘It is like parts of Fremantle stood still and waited for things to get better, expecting business to return and everything to go back to normal.’

She said one way back was more people coming to Fremantle and not just at weekends.

‘The commitment to attracting more people to work and live in Fremantle is right on the money for the region’s economic sustainability,’ she said.