The first stage of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry's search for a new chief executive will conclude next week.
Frank Hewitt, who took over the running of the chamber in April 2002 after a long career in economic development in both the public and private sectors, is stepping down as its chief next summer.
Ulster executive recruitment company MSL has been tasked with finding a new CEO for NICCI and applications for the post close next Friday (November 30). After that the selection process will begin.
MSL managing director Ian Rainey pointed out: "This is a very different kind of appointment. The chamber is Northern Ireland's largest business organisation and it needs someone who understands the needs and concerns of local business, particularly small companies.
"But the successful candidate will also have to be able to work closely with Government departments and with local authorities, as well as developing contacts with chambers throughout the British Isles and beyond.
"He/she will also have to be able to represent the chamber at the highest level, while making sure it operates profitably."
Mr Hewitt, who steps down next July, said he had thoroughly enjoyed his time at NICCI.
Prior to joining the chamber he was chief executive of the Northern Ireland Growth Challenge and was closely involved in the development of Strategy 2010, the first economic development strategy to be produced jointly by the public and private sectors in Northern Ireland.