The new Board of Trade group of advisers for the UK is an interesting range of people. The list has come from this page on the Government website. Along with a Tory MP who is the deputy President of the group there are seven Ministers who no doubt have high opinions about all sorts of things but these people should be being advised, not people who will advise the Board of Trade. Then there is the unpopular amongst many other people Tony Abbott. If we ignore some of the other criticisms about him we should recognise that his political background is a good match for the Tory Party although clearly unlike many of them he has experience of working in a Governmental sense with other nations so someone like him could add some value to the Board. Then there is Daniel Hannan who was our local MEP for many years and certainly he worked within the EU but he learned very little based on what he had to say and he will certainly not encourage the Board of Trade to work to improve our Trade with the EU nations which is something that would make a great deal of sense. So we have nine Tories and one Tory supporter. Then there is Patricia Hewitt who comes from the Labour Party so one Labour and nine Tories plus one Tory supporter would not form a balanced cross party basis as viewed by most people, but at least there is one non Tory involvement amongst the 11 Politicians. However given this is a Board of Trade group of Advisers we are now limited to six non Politicians out of the 17 Advisers, which is fractionally over one third of the people. Below are the biographical elements for the other six. There is a clear financial element and some overseas aspects both of which are useful themes to include. However there are also a couple whose background is from our Civil Service which is not necessary for a team of advisers in my view, but what is really low in numbers are people who understand what our broader businesses need from the future Trade Deals as we leave the EU and will lost about 50% of our trading provision.
Karen Betts had a 16-year career in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and held a variety of posts in London and overseas with the FCO. Most recently, she was British Ambassador in Morocco. She was also Counsellor to the British Embassy in Washington, and held roles at the UK’s Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels and the British Embassy in Baghdad. In London, she served in the Cabinet Office and the Joint Intelligence Committee, as well as in a variety of roles in the Foreign Office. Prior to joining the FCO, Karen worked as a lawyer for Clifford Chance in London and Hong Kong. She studied law at the College of Law in Guildford and history at St. Andrews University. Since then in May 2017 she was appointed as CEO of the Scottish Whiskey Association in May 2017 so she has had 3 years experience outside of Governmental structures and of course a great deal of experience overseas.
Anne Elizabeth Boden MBE is a Welsh tech entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of Starling Bank, a UK mobile-only bank. In 2018, she received an MBE for services to financial technology. Boden founded her online banking business in June 2014, originally named Possible Financial Services, with the tagline “Bank Possible”. In February 2015 the bank was hit by a series of departures, including the exit of Tom Blomfield, the former CEO and current President of rival neo-bank Monzo.
Emma Howard Boyd is the Chair of the Environment Agency, an Ex officio board member of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, and has recently been appointed as the UK Commissioner to the Global Commission on Adaptation. Emma has worked in financial services for over 25 years, in corporate finance and fund management. As Director of Stewardship at Jupiter Asset Management until July 2014, Emma was integral to the development of their expertise in the corporate governance and sustainability fields.
Michael Liebreich claims to be a leading global expert on clean energy and transportation, smart infrastructure, technology, climate finance and sustainable development. He is Chairman and CEO of Liebreich Associates, through which he provides advisory services and speaks on clean energy and transportation, smart infrastructure, technology, climate finance and sustainable development and has recently joined Sustainable Development Capital LLP (SDCL) as a Senior Advisor.
William Russell as the Mayor of London is a non political person and his involvement as a Financier is very useful, although clearly someone who has a formal role in the City of London does make the group a bit challenging.
Linda Yueh is an economist, broadcaster, and writer. She is a Fellow in Economics at St Edmund Hall, Oxford University and Adjunct Professor of Economics at London Business School. She is Visiting Professor at LSE IDEAS, London School of Economics and Political Science’s foreign policy centre, and Associate Fellow (Global Economy and Finance Programme & U.S. and the Americas Programme) at Chatham House. Professor Yueh is Chair of the LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission. She was Visiting Professor of Economics at Peking University. She is a TV and radio presenter, including for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service, as well as having fronted BBC TV series, such as The New Middle Class, Next Billionaires, and Working Lives. She is a Non-Executive Director of : Rentokil Initial, a FTSE 100 company, Fidelity China Special Situations PLC, a FTSE 250 investment trust, and Chair of Baillie Gifford’s The Schiehallion Fund, listed on the Specialist Fund Segment of the Main Market.
With these appointments you can comprehend why our performance as a government support to business overseas is pitiful.
Indeed Rob, sadly it demonstrates how incompetent our whole Government is.