Dear Members and Friends,

The week started with the early Monday launch of Greg Clarke's industrial strategy paper. He spoke to The D group in the first half of this year. For those of you who have not had time to read our quick digest of what it said and for an overview of the implications for the sectors v relevant to our membership, click here to view. In a fortuitously timely booking we shortly welcome Lord Henley Under Secretary of state at B.E.I.S to Grafton St. next Wednesday, December 6th to discuss Industrial Strategy.


On the day the PM flew to Jordan The D Group was delighted to welcome HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal, one of the most senior Jordanian royals, to Grafton St. Educated in the UK, a prolific author, engaged across a huge range of international and Arab organisation and for years a hugely respected voice advocating strategic solutions based on pan- regional policies that give primacy, not to politics, but to the people of the combined Levant and the Gulf, we enjoyed an exceptional conversation. Considerable thanks are due to Rob Fulton and FW de Klerk's Global Leadership Foundation, of which The D Group is a member, for facilitating the meeting.


Wednesday evening saw The D Group welcome the hugely regarded Elizabeth Linder, a US citizen based in the U.K.who, after roles at Google, YouTube and then working alongside Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook, has started The Conversational Century. Elizabeth, who specialises in advising governments and business leaders how to best include social media in their engagement with stakeholders, is increasingly engaging with Strategy International and it's networks.


We have long awaited Doug Scott's photographic exhibition. Doug has scaled most major Himalayan peaks, was the first to climb Everest by the N East route and someone whose incredible modesty belies a lifetime of achievement, both scaling peaks and helping the people of Nepal through his charity Community Action Nepal. Launched on Thursday evening, with many thanks to BEI member WYG who has been a truly outstanding C.A.N. supporter, the exhibition was a huge hit. The images are stunning (they are available to view in Grafton St. for the next 3 weeks) and Doug's talk to those who attended was thought provoking and entertaining in equal measure. Additional thanks to Robin Ashcroft, a fellow mountaineer and to Commonwealth Argosy for their participation.

Friday morning, we hosted a joint session with the Saudi Britain Joint Business Council. Tim Callen, Assistant Director in the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, and the IMF’s mission chief for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries gave the audience a briefing on highlights from the latest IMF report on Saudi Arabia. The country faces key challenges in terms of fluctuating oil prices and a burgeoning young population but in many ways the most important factor may well be the pace of social and economic change. For years we have been saying ‘Saudi Arabia is changing’, today the message was positively ‘Saudi Arabia has changed’. 2017 has certainly been a fascinating year for this important UK trading partner.


Looking to next week, BEI events get into the nitty-gritty of Smart Cities and DFID’s activities around global infrastructure. The D Group welcomes Jim Saker to look at the future of the UK auto industry and HE Joonkook Hwang, the Korean Ambassador to the UK, to update us on key issues around Korean/UK trade and doubtless the challenges currently facing the peninsular. 

With best regards, 


Peter O'Kane - Chairman, Strategy International


Event highlights:

Wednesday 29th November – D Group Dinner
Inside the social media revolution: what business leaders need to know
Elizabeth Linder, Founder & CEO, The Conversational Century

Thursday 30th November – D Contemporary
High Exposure - Doug Scott in aid of CAN sponsored by WYG
Exhibition Private View

Thursday 7th December – D Group Lunch
Ambassador of the Republic of Korea
H.E. Mr. Joonkook Hwang