CBI Northern Ireland Welcomes New Vice Chair


CBI Northern Ireland is delighted to announce Elaine Birchall as its new Vice Chair for 2021.  Elaine succeeds Fane Valley CEO Trevor Lockhart and serves alongside CBI NI Chair and Barclays Head of Corporate Banking, Adrian Doran.

Elaine is widely recognised as one of the most respected CEOs in Northern Ireland. She has led SHS Group since 2015, a FMCG family-owned Group headquartered in Belfast and long-standing CBI member.  SHS Group employs over 1,000 people in commercial offices and production sites in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and Republic of Ireland.

The Group owns many household brands including WKD, Shloer, bottlegreen, Meridian nut butters and Zip firelighters and distributes a portfolio of well-known brands including Colgate, Nurofen, Finish, Dettol, Jordans, Tunnocks and Mars Drinks. It is also the largest supplier of own label herbs, spices and condiments in the UK.

Before joining SHS Group, Elaine held management and leadership roles in Europe, the USA and South Pacific for Colgate Palmolive. She also has previously led PZ Cussons UK as Managing Director and managed operations in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya as Area Director for PZ Cussons Africa.

Commenting on Elaine’s appointment, Angela McGowan, CBI Northern Ireland Director, said:

“I’m thrilled that Elaine has been appointed as CBI Northern Ireland Vice Chair for 2021.

“Her leadership will undoubtedly ensure the CBI continues to represent the views of NI businesses to policymakers – from Stormont, to Westminster and Whitehall – on the issues which matter at this most challenging of times.

“Elaine’s vast knowledge, experience and expertise has been invaluable to me as we navigated the challenges of last year and will continue to be so; as we help businesses bounce back from the pandemic, navigate our new relationship with the EU and accelerate our efforts towards net-zero. 

“I would also like to thank Trevor Lockhart for his hard work over the past few years, both as CBI Chair and Vice Chair. His wisdom, warmth and humour have been so important to me personally and to the entire CBI team through one of the most tumultuous periods I can remember.”

Elaine Birchall, CBI Northern Ireland Vice Chair, added:

“I’m delighted to be appointed to this significant role, as the NI business community grapples with the considerable challenges experienced throughout 2020.

“As a region powered by businesses of all sectors and sizes, CBI NI will continue to use its voice to communicate what companies need at the highest level of policy and decision making. Our economic recovery depends on it.

“I personally intend to leverage our collective determination, expertise and innovation to showcase business as a force for good and a means of developing a greener and stronger economy – creating jobs, investment and growth that will deliver economic and societal benefits across our region.

“I very much look forward to working closely with Adrian, Angela and the CBI team – building on their fantastic work and steering us towards a strong, secure and sustainable future.”


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