Business leaders from Swindon and across the West of England will get their first chance to hear the views of the CBI’s recently appointed president and its incoming regional chair at the organisation’s annual dinner next week.
The event is traditionally a high point of the region’s business calendar, attracting hundreds of senior businessmen and women as well as political figures.
Paul Drechsler CBE, pictured below, chairman of shipping, marine services, logistics and financial services group Bibby Line, was elected as president of the UK’s largest business organisation in July.
He succeeded Sir Mike Rake, BT Group chairman, to become the 26th CBI president since 1965.
He is also chairman of the board of Teach First, the social enterprise that aims to address educational disadvantage in England and Wales, chairs the National Skills Funding Agency and is a board member of Business in the Community.
He previously worked at construction firm Wates Group, from 2006 until 2014, and, before that, at chemical giant ICI in a variety of senior international roles in Teesside, Brazil, the US and the Netherlands.
In the unpaid role of CBI president he helps lead the organisation’s advocacy work, meeting ministers and senior civil servants, promoting British business internationally and chairing the CBI board.
Also speaking at the dinner, which takes place at the Bristol Marriott City Centre next Wednesday, will be incoming CBI regional chair Andrew Livingston.
Andrew, pictured right, has been CEO of Somerset-based trade tools retailer Screwfix for the past three years. He was previously the firm’s commercial and ecommerce director and has also worked at Screwfix sister company B&Q and at Wyevale Garden Centres.
He recently came 13th in a table of the UK’s best bosses selected by their staff in research carried out by recruitment firm Glassdoor.
Andrew will make his inaugural speech at the dinner as he takes the reins from previous regional chair, UWE vice-chancellor Prof Steve West and begins his two-year term.
Previous speakers over the years at the high-profile dinner, sponsored again this year by Barclays, Bristol law firm Burges Salmon and Plymouth University, have included senior politicians, civil servants, diplomats, economists and industrialists, including the Labour Party’s former Downing Street spokesman-turned political commentator Alastair Campbell, former TUC general secretary Sir Brendan Barber, and, last year, Jenny Baxter, chief operating officer, BBC England.
Swindon Business News will have full coverage of the dinner next week.