Dear Members and friends,

A short but full week. Two speaker events, a very energised art opening, two new members. More on Liverpool and Spurs later…

The CEO of the civil service, John Manzoni, reviewed progress with us since his visit a year ago. It’s an encouraging report card. Alongside an intensive programme to successfully set in place contingency arrangements for most of those ‘no-deal ‘ challenges under the UK’s control, the focus on upskilling civil service commercial capability has continued apace. The priority has been to drive hiring and structure very much towards enhancing civil service strengths around the how, not the what. Prioritising delivery not policy. Certainly from Strategy’s point of view we see more improvements than frustrations. So still very much ‘work in progress’ but definitely heading in the right direction - and achieved amidst a really demanding period.


On Thursday veteran Search expert Peter Felix gave a talk on the role and importance of Advisory Boards. Their role and potential have received little attention but with increasing pressure on main Boards to improve their performance and handle fast-moving marketplace, regulatory and compliance challenges (Data Protection, Cyber Security, Digital Disruption, etc) they offer a useful and flexible way of attracting valuable experience. The point was emphasised that to be effective, they must have a very clear mandate. Peter has written an extensive report which can be viewed here.


Tuesday saw the opening of a mixed painting and sculpture exhibition by Carolyn de Rothschild and Long Ly. It was very well attended but I’d still take the opportunity to remind members that the art events, often built around countries and themes very relevant to what we do, are open to all and offer a very relaxed and congenial surrounding for making contacts on a weekday night.


We welcome two leading players in the communications world to the membership. Inmarsat, the UK’s leader in satellite communications and the major US company, Leidos (previously SAIC) a global leader in providing technological solutions to the civil, defence, health and intelligence sectors.

Finally, as a committed Leeds fan it takes a lot to praise Liverpool and Spurs but if ever we wanted an example of how leadership can turn an apparently hopeless position this was it. Westminster take note…

Best wishes,


Peter O'Kane - Executive Chairman, Strategy International

Upcoming Events:

Tuesday 14th May 2019 – BEI
DFID Work on Migration and Modern Slavery
Paul Whittingham, DFID Deputy Director & Head of the Migration and Modern Slavery Department

Wednesday 15th May 2019 – BEI
CDC’s Investments in Low-Income and Fragile States – an ICAI Review
Richard Gledhill, Lead Commissioner, ICAI

Wednesday 15th May 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Lunch with Gareth Rhys Williams
Gareth Rhys Williams, Government Chief Commercial Officer and Non-Executive Director, Crown Commercial Service

Thursday 16th May 2019 – The D Group Lunch
The Gender Pay Gap
Sarah Keeble, Partner, Employment Department, Mishcon de Reya

Tuesday 21st May 2019 – The D Group Lunch
The UK-Canada Bilateral Relationship
Janice Charette, High Commissioner for Canada to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Permanent Representative of Canada to the International Maritime Organisation

Tuesday 21st May 2019 – BEI
DFID Work on Governance, Open Societies and Anti-Corruption
Charlotte Hull, Head of Governance, Open Societies and Anti-Corruption Department

Wednesday 22nd May 2019 – BEI
DFID Global Funds Department Update
Niall Fry, Deputy Head, DFID Global Funds Unit

Wednesday 22nd May 2019 – BEI
Argentina Infrastructure Opportunities
Inbound UK-Argentine Mission Delegation

Wednesday 22nd May 2019 – The D Group Dinner
My Vision for Defence People and Veterans
The Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood MP, Parliament Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Ministry of Defence