Sir John Crabtree


Sir John Crabtree is the Chairman of White & Black. His main focus is on developing the strategy and market position of the firm. John brings enormous experience of law firm management and leadership gained over 40 years in the industry.

John is a former President of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce & Industry and was appointed Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for the West Midlands in January 2017. John Chaired the Organising Committee for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games for which he was appointed Knight Bachelor for services to Sport and to the community in the West Midlands. In 2014 Government Secretary Eric Pickles named John as Chairman of the Birmingham Improvement Panel, charged with supporting the council as it pursues vital reforms.

John’s career as a Lawyer began in 1971 when he joined Wragge & Co, where he remained until 2003, rising through the ranks as Head of Corporate, then Managing Partner and finally Senior Partner.  He was voted UK Lawyer of the Year by Legal Business in 2003.

John has many community and charitable interests and is Chairman of the national charity for deafblind people, Sense and Special Advisor to the Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust Board of Trustees.

In business, his many interests outside the law include being Chairman of Staffline Group plc, SLR Management Limited and Real Estate Investors Plc. He was previously Chairman of Claimar Care Group plc (2006-2009) and Metalrax Group plc (2003-2010).

John’s main hobby is spending time with his six children.

Sir John recently featured on our podcast, WABChats. We chatted to John about organising the 2022 Commonwealth Games – Covering the impact of Covid on organisation, how to ensure the bigger picture is kept front and centre and the importance of a sense of humour in the board room. You can listen to the full episode now.

Sir John Crabtree – Organising the Commonwealth Games