HM Lord-Lieutenant appointed new Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce President


Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce is delighted to welcome a new president who is “looking forward to working with the organisation and seeing it flourish”.

David Fursdon is His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Devon and has lived in the county for more than 45 years. He has served in a number of high-profile public roles in the South West and beyond, as well as running several successful businesses in tourism, property, agriculture and consultancy.

David was officially welcomed as president during the Plymouth Area Business Council (PABC) Professionals Autumn Dinner at at Stonehouse Barracks.

As well as being an experienced first-class cricketer back in the day, David also proudly served in the military for a number of years. 

David’s appointment as president marks the 210th anniversary of the Devon & Plymouth Chamber – over two centuries of proudly supporting the region’s businesses.

Led by its diverse board of directors, the Chamber has more than 600 members who have access to numerous business benefits, including a packed events programme for the rest of 2023 and beyond.

David was educated at St John’s College, Oxford, where he was a scholar and cricket blue. He then worked in the MoD (arms control and disarmament in Whitehall and at the UN Geneva) before moving in 1978 with his wife to Devon, where his family has lived for many years. He is married with three children and four grandchildren.

He taught at Blundell’s School in Tiverton where he was later to Chair the Governors (2000-2011). He then worked as a rural Chartered Surveyor in Exeter.

David chaired the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), firstly in Devon and then nationally as President during a turbulent time through foot and mouth disease. After this he became a Commissioner of the Crown Estate, dealing with rural and commercial property portfolios and renewable energy and then also of English Heritage (chairing the business committee during the re-development of the visitor centre at Stonehenge).

After serving on the Board of the SWRDA, David chaired the London 2012 South-west Board before and during the Olympics. More recently, he chaired the Government’s ‘Future of Farming’ review (to bring more new entrants into agriculture), DEFRA’s SW Rural and Farming Network and was on the Board of Historic Houses at the National Trust. 

He currently chairs both Sir James Dyson’s farming company and the Institute of Agriculture and Horticulture. He is also a trustee of the Royal Countryside Fund and a Commissioner and trustee of the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission. 

David has supported the NSPCC (chairing the Devon Full Stop Appeal) and affordable housing initiatives (serving on the Affordable Rural Housing Commission and Rural Housing Policy Group). He has run his own businesses in tourism, property, agriculture and consultancy. David was High Sheriff of Devon in 2009, and was appointed HM Lord-Lieutenant of Devon in April 2015.

David said: “I am delighted to have been asked to become President of Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce.

“The Chamber is fortunate to have so many innovative and imaginative businesses alongside other well-established and successful organisations who appreciate the help and support that they can access through membership.

“I look forward to working with the Chamber in what are choppy economic waters and seeing it flourish.”

Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce CEO, Stuart Elford added: “We are delighted to welcome David Fursdon on board as president of the Devon & Plymouth Chamber.

“David is an incredibly well-known figure in Devon and throughout the local business community, taking into account his 40 years in the county, his tireless work for local charities and organisations, and his current role as His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Devon.

“Everything we do is aimed at building a bigger and better Chamber for all our members – and having a true champion of Devon like David as our president can only make us stronger.

“These are certainly exciting times for our organisation, and we have also just welcomed on board two new patrons. The future of Devon business certainly looks bright.”

Pictures by John Allen.

MAIN IMAGE – Left to right: Pauline Hands, Stuart Elford, David Fursdon, Richard Stevens DL MBE, Emily Pearson, Paul Philpott and Craig Moore

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