THE Chamber of Commerce and Industry Western Australia will have new leadership this year, with the recruitment of Chevron executive James Pearson as its new chief executive and the expected departure of policy director Diedre Willmott. Mr Pearson will succeed John Langoulant, who joined Kerry Stokes’ private company Australian Capital Equity earlier this year. A former diplomat, Mr Pearson said the CCI role was one of the best jobs available. “It’s a huge opportunity, with what is happening in the economy and the state’s future prospects,” he said. Mr Pearson has worked in the resources sector over the past decade, at Chevron, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, and the former Department of Resources Development, but said he had dealt with a broad suite of business issues. “I’m very confident I’ve got a good background and knowledge across the range of business issues.” Ms Willmott is expected to succeed Colin Barnett in the safe Liberal seat of Cottesloe at the next state election, due to be held in early 2009. “We expect Deidre to be present at the Chamber to assist the new chief executive to settle in,” a CCI spokesperson said.