Prime Minister David Cameron has appointed a new slate of 19 City leaders to his business advisory group, including more than a dozen chief executives of UK blue chips.
The chief executives of BP, Legal & General, EasyJet, Land Securities, the London Stock Exchange Group, Persimmon, Asda, ARM, Severn Trent and Rolls Royce all made the cut, as did the chairs of Universal UK, EY, Lloyd’s of London and Santander.
Cameron first introduced a business advisory group in the last parliament, and previous incarnations met on a quarterly basis with the Prime Minister in Downing Street.
A Number 10 spokesperson said yesterday that the new business advisory group will also meet four times a year and “act as a sounding board through which ministers can listen to and debate concerns and priorities facing industry”. It will discuss government policies for productivity, housing and European Union reform.
Under the coalition government, the group included Apple senior vice president and former Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts, Vodafone boss Vittorio Colao, Dyson founder Sir James Dyson and Katherine Garrett-Cox from Alliance Trust, among others. Many other previous appointees – including Harriet Green from Thomas Cook, former Prudential boss Tidjane Thiam and outgoing Confederation of British Industry (CBI) president Sir Mike Rake – have left the private sector posts which they held while serving on the committee.
Cameron announced his new business group yesterday on the first day of a four-day trade visit to southeast Asia. He is travelling to Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia with a delegation of 31 business leaders, including Aviva chief executive Mark Wilson, Balfour Beatty group chief executive Leo Quinn and Lloyd’s of London chairman John Nelson, a business advisory group appointee.
Downing Street said that deals worth over £750m are expected to be finalised during the tour, creating an estimated 270 new jobs across the UK.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister met with the Indonesian President Joko Widodo as well as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) secretary general Le Luong Minh to discuss a possible EU-ASEAN trade deal.
According to Downing Street, a deal has the potential to benefit the UK economy by £3bn every year by creating one of the biggest free trade areas in the world with combined GDP of over $20 trillion (£12.9 trillion).
Cameron and the delegation of UK business leaders are expected to travel to Singapore today for further meetings with government and business officials there.
WHO IS WHO ON CAMERON’S BUSINESS ADVISORY COUNCIL
The 59-year-old American took over at BP in October 2010. Since then he has guided the oil giant through legal battles, complicated acquisitions and turbulence in the oil markets.
The French equities expert has been at the helm of the London Stock Exchange Group since 2009, having previously headed up Lehman Brothers’ operations in France.
Wilson got the top job at Legal & General in 2010. Often outspoken, Wilson has criticised high-speed rail, QE and the mansion tax, among other policies.
Clarke has run Asda since 2010. Despite dropping out of school at 15, he rose through the ranks at Morrisons and McKinsey before taking over at Asda.
McCall is one of a handful of female chief executives heading up FTSE 100 firms. In 2008, she was awarded an OBE for services to women in business.
The former Diageo chairman and chief executive was seen as a front-runner for the CBI presidency before he signed a public letter backing Tory policies.
Noel has been the boss of Britain’s largest commercial property firm since 2012. Before he got the top job, Noel was managing the company’s London business.
Botin became one of the world’s most powerful banking executives when she took over Santander one day after her father, the former chairman, died.