Richard Bell

CEOs and director generals among leaders chosen for Theresa May’s new Business Councils

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced the creation of five new Business Councils that will advise the Government after Brexit.

Each Council will look to meet three times a year – once with a senior Cabinet Minister and twice with the PM – to provide advice and policy recommendations on key issues affecting businesses.

The Councils will be co-chaired by two business leaders and have around 10 members representing core sectors of the UK economy, including a representative from a business group.

PM Theresa May said: “The UK has always been one of the best places in the world to do business and is a leader in sectors from advanced manufacturing to the creative industries.

“Brexit presents a huge opportunity to build a better, stronger economy for people all over the country.”

She added: “So I’ve asked these new Councils to advise us on the opportunities and challenges facing business as we shape the UK for the future.”

The Prime Minister is due to welcome the co-chairs at Downing Street for the first time later today (November 7) to set out objectives and discuss issues including productivity and international investment. After the first meeting the co-chairs will prepare each Council’s agendas.

The appointed co-chairs are:

Jan du Plessis (chairman, BT Group) and Carolyn McCall (chief exec, ITV) for the Telecoms, Creative, Technology and Media Council, which will include business group representatives John Allen (president, CBI) and Stephen Martin (director general, IOD)

Roger Carr (chairman, BAE Systems) and Ian Davis (chairman, Rolls Royce) will co-chair the Industrial, Infrastructure and Manufacturing Council, with Stephen Phipson (chief exec, EEF) as its business group representative

James Timpson (CEO, Timpson), Brent Hoberman (chairman, Founders Forum) and Emma Jones (founder, Enterprise Nation) will co-chair the Small Business, Scale ups and Entrepreneurs Council. Business group representative for this council is Mike Cherry (national chairman, Federation of Small Business)

Paul Manduca (chairman, Prudential) and Shriti Vadera (chairman, Santander UK) will co-chair the Services - Financial, Professional and Education Services Council, with support from business group representative Carolyn Fairbairn (director general, CBI)

Dave Lewis (chief exec, Tesco) and Emma Walmsley (chief exec, GSK) will co-chair the Consumer, Retail and Life Sciences Council, with business group representative Adam Marshall (director general, British Chambers of Commerce)

Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones said: “The overwhelming majority of businesses in the UK are small and they are the heart of our economy – so I’m pleased that their voice is formally being recognised in these Councils.

“I’m looking forward to representing these entrepreneurs and innovators and discussing their unique perspective with the Prime Minister.”

ITV CEO Carolyn McCall commented: “Our creative industries are a £92bn sector, growing at twice the rate of the economy and setting trends around the world.

“The UK exported nearly £1bn of TV programmes and formats alone in 2016/17 and film and high-end TV by themselves attracted over £2bn of inward investment to the UK in 2017, creating jobs, boosting tourism and attracting global talent to the UK.”

She added: “I’m delighted to co-lead with Jan Du Plessis, Chairman of BT, the Telecoms, Creatives Industries, Technology and Media council to continue to nurture this for the future.”

Sir Roger Carr, chairman of BAE Systems, said: “Companies in the Industrial, Manufacturing and Infrastructure sectors are the backbone of the economy and amongst our largest employers.

“We are a vital part of the wealth creating machinery of the country where improved training, productivity and exporting will be the cornerstones of our global success.”

He continued: “Engaging with the Prime Minister to tackle these issues in a focused and practical manner is a welcome and important step forward in achieving our collective growth ambitions.”

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