Professor Colin Riordan, President and Vice Chancellor at Cardiff University and Stephen Burgin, VP of GE Europe and member of our Advisory Board

Professor Colin Riordan, President and Vice Chancellor at Cardiff University and Stephen Burgin, VP of GE Europe and member of our Advisory Board

Dear Members and Friends, 

D Group events this week saw two absorbing looks into the challenges of the future. Andy Hornby, previously CEO of HBOS and Alliance Boots and a key moving force behind the current Ladbrokes/Coral merger, reviewed the dramatic impact of digitisation on a wide range of industries and the future changes it will drive in the UK economy. Colin Riordan, President and Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, one of our highest ranked research universities, reviewed the post-Brexit challenges and also opportunities facing the HE sector. It was an upbeat assessment and also a timely reminder of the key contribution the university sector has made to technical and commercial innovation and the role it has to play in continuing the UK’s ability to generate world-leading technical and commercial innovations.

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The City is of considerable importance to the UK economy. It also plays a pivotal role in orchestrating financial stakeholder interest for most of our membership. It's no secret that it was the sector, alongside automotive, probably most rattled and concerned by Brexit. The waves of concern are still very evident in everyday press. So, it's interesting to read a particularly insightful digest from our associate, New Financial, on the full current range of The City's thinking, "pro" and "anti". Read their report here.

New Financial is based in our Grafton Street office and you can find out more about their mission and read their output, often cited in the FT and leading UK press, on www.newfinancial.eu.

British Expertise International hosted two extremely relevant meetings for our members. On Tuesday Will Guest, Head of Programme Management and South Asia Lead at the Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) provided a comprehensive update on the work of the Fund to over 40 of our members. The CSSF has a budget of £1.127 billion in FY 16/17, rising to £1.322 billion by FY 19/20 (allocated as ODA from the UK Aid Programme) for tackling conflict and instability overseas and is now one of the world's largest mechanisms for addressing conflict and instability.

Yesterday in a similar vein, we welcomed two leading experts on Modern Slavery and Child Labour, key issues for many organisations working in developing countries. The UK announced in September a £33.5m International Modern Slavery Fund, as part of the UK Aid budget, to tackle slavery in ODA eligible countries. This extremely interesting and informative session heard from Cindy Berman, Head of Knowledge & Learning at the Ethical Trading Initiative, a leading alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes respect for workers’ rights around the globe and Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation and Founder of TrustLaw and Trust Conference. The Foundation tackles modern day slavery and human trafficking through a number of strategic initiatives. Monique has been ranked among the world’s 100 most influential people in Business Ethics by Ethisphere and we were delighted that she was able to share her views and vision for the future with us on such a challenging topic.


Best wishes for the weekend,

Tracey Smith - Deputy Chair, Strategy International