Straight-talking, honest, with a deep sense of integrity and a track record of high performance: the CBI could not have chosen a better person to shepherd its turnaround than Rupert Soames.
The man who declared as he left Serco that it was time to “outsource myself” has found himself volunteering to do what his former firm often did: putting in the hard yards for the greater good, often with few thanks.
Make no mistake, Soames has a task on his hands.
The CBI scandals which broke earlier this year, and which were initially dealt with staggeringly badly, have sullied the group’s name.
But Britain needs a big business group, some of those either nascent or established who attempted to fill the gap left by the CBI this year have failed to grab the title.
In an election year, somebody needs to speak up for corporate Britain: the firms that keep the Treasury coffers full, keep vast swathes of the country in a job and do so much of the heavy lifting across the wider economy through their supply chains.
Despite the initial scepticism at the appointment of (effectively) a CBI lifer in Rain Newton-Smith as director general, the body is now back in some version of correspondence with government and Labour.
It will now fall on Soames to go further and identify what the CBI is now for, beyond attending what are often rather dry and – honestly – pointless round tables.
Having an individual of Soames’ stature – with the credit that comes from having led a business at the coalface – as a new face for the CBI will do it no end of good as it looks to secure what is still a far from certain future.