27 Mar 2024

Doug Wright named as High Sheriff of the West Midlands


Doug Wright has vowed to put those involved in crime reduction and social cohesion at the top of the agenda during his term as High Sheriff of the West Midlands.

The McDonald’s franchisee and preeminent West Midlands business figure began his year-long shrievalty following a declaration ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth II Law Courts in Birmingham city centre yesterday.

Mr Wright, the owner of Wright Restaurants (T/A McDonald’s) which employs nearly 3,000 people at 26 sites across the region, joins an illustrious list of West Midlands High Sheriffs – including two members of the Cadbury dynasty and eight past Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce presidents.

The position of High Sheriff is the oldest continuous secular office under the Crown and the only surviving secular post from Anglo-Saxon times.

In the West Midlands, the shrievalty has existed for 50 years, with Michael L. Cadbury serving as the region’s first High Sheriff from 1974-75.

With the role set to include a range of ceremonial, charitable and community engagements, Mr Wright is keen to prioritise the efforts of organisations involved in crime reduction and social cohesion.

The Bromsgrove-born businessman also plans to promote the work of the emergency services and encourage more people to become magistrates.

He said: “It is a great honour for me to have been chosen for this prestigious role.

“The listing of all 50 previous High Sheriffs makes very impressive reading and includes two of the philanthropic Cadbury family and our own Sir John Crabtree, who delivered the most excellent 2022 Commonwealth Games, amongst many other wonderful individuals.

“It is a particularly special year as the West Midlands celebrates 50 years in 2024.

“I will be supportive of the police, emergency services and encourage the probation and prison services. I’m also going to be showcasing the work of our magistrates across all our boroughs, while actively encouraging more people to become magistrates.

“I intend to prioritise visiting voluntary sector organisations which are involved in crime reduction and social cohesion.

“I truly hope by championing such causes that it will influence others to play a part in their respective communities to be engaged in a way that makes the West Midlands even more cohesive, and a safer place to live and work.”

On highlighting the vital work of the emergency services, Mr Wright said he will use the High Sheriff position to encourage young people to become cadets.

He added: “It’s vital that we signpost the great life skills and opportunities that arise from becoming a cadet and then the opportunity to move into important roles such as a Police Officer, Firefighter or Paramedic to name but a few.”

After leaving school in 1981, Mr Wright began his career as a part-time cleaner with McDonald’s and worked his way through the ranks – eventually purchasing the first of his 26 franchised restaurants in 2002.

He has earned string of career accolades including the McDonald’s Global Franchisee of the Year.

In 2019, Mr Wright was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands and three years later received an MBE for services to charity and the economy.

As chair of Ronald McDonald House Charities in Birmingham, he led six-figure fundraising initiatives to provide free accommodation for families with children receiving treatment at the nearby Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

He is now chair of the Kids’ Village charity which is aiming to raise £5m to build the UK’s first holiday resort for critically ill children.

Kids’ Village will also be Mr Wright’s chosen charity for his High Sheriff term. 

A patron and former board member of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, Mr Wright acknowledged the role the GBCC has played in enhancing his credentials across the region.

He said: “If you look at the list of past High Sheriffs, there are some very important Chamber people including past presidents such as Sir John Crabtree, Dame Christine Braddock and Paul Bassi.

“There is no doubt that the Chamber has played an important role in enhancing my credentials within the West Midlands community, both under the current chief executive Henrietta Brealey and her predecessor Paul Faulkner.”

On engaging with charities and community organisations throughout the year, Mr Wright added: “I want to encourage people and organisations to engage with us and invite us along to their events, via the High Sheriff website.”

Henrietta Brealey, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: “On behalf of the Chamber, I would like to congratulate Doug on his appointment as High Sheriff of the West Midlands.

“From his entrepreneurial success to his unwavering support for businesses and charities, Doug has been a real force for good within the West Midlands for many years.

“We look forward to seeing him continue to positively shape the region during his High Sheriff year.” 

Charities and community organisations who would like to contact the High Sheriff can do so via his website.

Pictured: Doug Wright with a leader from the Police Cadets, one of several groups he will be supporting as High Sheriff

Related topics