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Dear Members and Friends,

As I begin to write this Newsletter at the beginning of the longest day, the sun is shining, Andy Murray is back on court, the English Cricket Team is playing well and we are finally down to the last 2 contenders for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Boris Johnson is being remarkably constrained and Jeremy Hunt appears to be playing the long game. We have had an extremely exciting week and have also had time to reflect on what we heard from over 50 Ambassadors last week. We are in the process of producing a report on the Ambassadors meetings, which we will distribute in the next couple of weeks. The following events have taken place this week:

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Tuesday 18th June. BFPG Event: report launch
Parliament was the setting for the launch of BFPG’s new publication containing original research detailing years of cuts to the Foreign Office and arguing for the need to reverse this, particularly given the challenges and opportunities facing a post-Brexit Britain.  A packed room of some 150 politicians, press, business, regional leaders and a spectrum of Westminster heard broad support for the report’s conclusions from across the political and policy spectrum; from  Dame Margaret  Beckett, Tom Tugendhat, Hilary Benn, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Sir Simon Fraser, from BFPG’s Tom Cargill and from Theo Clarke, CEO of event sponsors, the Coalition for Global Prosperity. A copy of the report can be read by following this link.

Wednesday 19th June. Blockchain Applications For The Future and How It Can Enhance Your Business.
Dr Maria Grazia Vigliotti who is both a renowned author and a Member of the United Kingdom All Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain explained what Blockchain can do to enhance one’s Business, where it should be used but almost more importantly, why it should not be a default setting. By 2022 over £12 billion will have been invested in blockchain, with the Financial Sector taking the lead. Other Sectors can also utilise the technology to cut costs, enhance transparency, bring competitors together and ensure that the ledger records cannot be corrupted by any particular company or individual. Maria is in the process of writing a book titled The Executive Guide to Blockchain and this may be launched in Grafton Street in the Autumn. If you have been struggling with the language I recommend that you come along.

Wednesday 19th June Future Group Digital Transformation-Adapting Your Business Model and Leadership Style.
Richard Goold, Managing Partner along-side a number of Moorhouse SME consultants, gave the Group an inspirational insight in to the challenges that Digitisation presents with a specific focus on people change, and how C Suite Directors can not only embrace these initiatives but also give their Businesses an edge on their competitors. Successful Digital Transformation can be a game changer, but implemented unsuccessfully will almost certainly have a very negative effect on the bottom line.

Thursday 20th June. Defence Working Group Supper: Jacqui Rock Chief Commercial Officer Defence Infrastructure Organisation.
Over the last three weeks we have heard both John Manzoni, Chief Executive of the Civil Service, and Gareth Rhys Williams, the Government Chief Commercial Officer, talk about their plan to professionalise the functionary support to all Government Departments. Jacqui Rock is a living example of this, having been a Commercial Director with Meryl Lynch for the previous 35 years. She has an absolute passion to work in a genuine partnership with Industry and make the DIO Commercial Function the best in Government. Her clearest message? Early engagement, constant dialogue, and that her door is always open to industry.

Having completed an excellent evening with the Defence Working Group I was fortunate to be invited to a second dinner of the evening at the Pakistan High Commissioner’s Residence to welcome a distinguished visitor from Pakistan. Fortunately, the rain held off for the reception in the garden before the guests went through for an enlightening and charming evening. The message that came across was that the new Prime Minister is determined to ensure that Pakistan will live within its means, that the country is open for business, and is particularly keen to work with the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister is encouraging the UK’s Pakistan diaspora to invest in their homeland, while the other major challenge is to ensure that more tax is paid in Pakistan. Pakistan has a population of 20 million and under 1%  (700,000) pay tax!

With warm weather forecast for the weekend and train strikes permitting, I hope that everyone will find some time to relax and perhaps even have a barbecue.

Best wishes to all,

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Seumas Kerr CBE - Managing Director, The D Group


Upcoming Events:

Wednesday 26th June 2019 – The D Group Lunch
The Northern Powerhouse Rail in the context of the Strategic Transport Plan
Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail Director, Transport of the North

Tuesday 2nd July 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Achieving transparency and flexibility in government procurement 
Rupert Soames OBE, CEO, Serco

Wednesday 3rd July 2019 – The D Group Dinner
Dinner with Michele Dix CBE, Crossrail 2
Michele Dix CBE, Managing Director, Crossrail 2

Tuesday 9th July 2019 – BEI
EBRD in Central Asia 
Bruno Balvanera, Managing Director, Central Asia

Tuesday 9th July 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Lunch with Alexandre Fasel, the Ambassador of Switzerland to the UK  
Ambassador Alexandre Fasel, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Kingdom

Thursday 11th July 2019 – BEI
Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) – Business Opportunities Workshop   
Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and UK Department for International Trade