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Leadership team

* denotes executive committee

  • Image of Paul Drechsler CBE

    Paul Drechsler CBE

    President

    Image of Paul Drechsler CBE

    Paul Drechsler CBE

    Paul is CBI President

    Paul is currently Chairman of Bibby Line Group which is headquartered in Liverpool. Before that he was Chairman and Chief Executive of Wates Group (2006-2014), the privately-owned construction firm he joined in 2004.

    Prior to joining Wates, Paul worked for ICI, spending the first 10 years of his career on Teesside. That was followed by 14 years holding various senior positions and living in Brazil, the USA and the Netherlands. His time there concluded with five years as Chief Executive of one of ICI’s principal international businesses and a main board director (1998-2003).

    Paul is also Chairman of the board of the charity Teach First, Chancellor of Teesside University and a board member of Business in the Community and Chairman of its Education Leadership Team. He was also the Chairman of the National Skills Funding Agency until September 2015. 

    Paul has been recognised for his outstanding leadership, winning KPMG Chief Executive of the Year for the construction industry and PwC ‘Private Company, Chief Executive of the Year’. During his tenure at the helm, Wates Group won the Business in the Community Company of the Year and the J.P. Morgan Best UK Family Business Award.

    Paul has been a member of the CBI Board since 2012 and was Chairman of the CBI Energy Policy Committee between 2007 and 2012 and a member of the Chairmen’s Committee.

    In February 2015, he was honoured by Her Majesty The Queen with an Honorary CBE for services to the construction industry.

    Paul graduated from the University of Dublin, Trinity College, with an (Honours) degree in Engineering Science. He is married with three children. 

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  • Image of Carolyn Fairbairn

    Carolyn Fairbairn

    Director-general *

    Image of Carolyn Fairbairn

    Carolyn Fairbairn

    Carolyn is CBI Director-General 

    Carolyn joined the CBI as Director-General in November 2015. She spent her early career at McKinsey, before taking on a range of senior leadership roles in the media industry.

    As a partner at McKinsey, Carolyn was a leader of the firm’s media practice. As BBC Director of Strategy, she led the BBC’s digital strategy and ran its transmission arm. Carolyn was also a member of the Executive board of ITV for four years.

    Carolyn has extensive FTSE board experience as a non-executive director of Lloyds Banking Group, The Vitec Group and Capita plc. She was also a Director of the Competition and Markets Authority, the UK Statistics Authority, and from 2008-11, the Financial Services Authority.

    From 1995-97, Carolyn was a member of the Number 10 Policy Unit. She began her career as an economist at the World Bank and then as a journalist for The Economist magazine.

    Carolyn holds a double first-class degree in Economics from Cambridge University, an MBA from INSEAD and MA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania.

    Carolyn is married with three children and lives in Hampshire.

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  • Image of Josh Hardie

    Josh Hardie

    Deputy director-general, policy & campaigns *

    Image of Josh Hardie

    Josh Hardie

    Josh is CBI Deputy Director-General for Policy and Campaigns

    An experienced corporate affairs specialist, Josh joined the CBI in 2016 to head up all policy development and influencing work. This involves working with the 190,000 businesses the CBI represents to understand how they can best provide jobs and growth, and developing campaigns to ensure government supports this. From Brexit and global trade to Industrial Strategy, regional growth and the CBI’s new campaign, Everyone's business, all the CBI’s work is aimed at building prosperity.

    Josh joined from Tesco, where he was Group Director for Corporate Responsibility. This role focused on leading on the integration of social and reputational issues into the international retailer's business strategy and developing a new approach to campaigning with customers, the Government, stakeholders and the media on issues including health, employability and sustainability.

    Josh has also held Exec-level roles at EdComs Ltd creating strategies and campaigns for clients including Sky, Google, the Army, the NSPCC as well as many Government departments and an educational charity, Education Extra, campaigning with schools and working with the Government on educational issues.

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  • Image of Henrietta Jowitt

    Henrietta Jowitt

    Deputy director-general, commercial *

    Image of Henrietta Jowitt

    Henrietta Jowitt

    Henrietta is CBI Deputy Director-General, Commercial

    Henrietta works with Carolyn and the senior team to develop and implement the CBI’s commercial business strategy. In particular, she is responsible for developing the group’s membership proposition, leading the CBI’s regional teams across the country, the organisation’s digital strategy, and creating new member services with a focus on supporting and enabling businesses to grow.

    Henrietta has 30 years’ experience in developing and implementing business, marketing and general management strategies.

    Henrietta has held a range of senior roles, including Group Head of Marketing, Strategy, Business Development and Investor Relations at an executive level within a FTSE 100 financial services business, Schroders Plc; a major private equity firm, Advent International; a professional services firm, Cushman & Wakefield; and within the Fast Moving Consumer Goods industry (FMCG).

    FMCG was where Henrietta first started her career at HJ Heinz as a graduate trainee, followed by Nestle and United Biscuits, where she developed her overall approach to business. She has operated globally for many years and has experience in most major markets.

    For the past 3 years, Henrietta has run her own small consultancy business, coaching management teams for major financial transactions and senior individuals required to communicate and lead more effectively. She has also focussed on a number of projects providing strategic advice to Boards and Partnerships looking to develop, grow and change their businesses.

    Henrietta has an MA in Natural Sciences from Oxford University and also completed the Oxford University Business School Advanced Management Program for Senior Executives. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and is an FCA approved Non- Executive Director.

    Henrietta is married with 4 children and is based in both Yorkshire and London.

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  • Image of Matthew Fell

    Matthew Fell

    Chief of staff *

    Image of Matthew Fell

    Matthew Fell

    Matthew Fell is CBI Chief of Staff 

    As Chief of Staff, Matthew is part of the CBI’s senior leadership team.

    Matthew’s responsibilities include developing the CBI's strategy and ensuring it is delivered effectively, the governance and risk functions of the CBI and for the CBI’s people. As of April 2017 he has interim responsibility for finance, IT and facilities.

    Matthew joined the CBI in 1999 and has held roles covering a broad range of business sectors including manufacturing, small business, the digital and creative industries and financial services. Immediately prior to becoming Chief of Staff, Matthew was director for competitive markets with responsibility for competition, regulation and corporate governance. During this time he also ran the CBI's campaigns to champion the UK's mid-market and the "Great Business Debate" to build public confidence in business. He has significant experience of engaging with government, regulators and senior business leaders.

    Matthew is a member of the CBI's Executive Committee and Management Board.

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  • Image of Rain Newton-Smith

    Rain Newton-Smith

    Chief economist

    Image of Rain Newton-Smith

    Rain Newton-Smith

    Rain is CBI Chief Economist

    She leads the team which provides economic analysis and our prestigous surveys.

    Rain was most recently head of Emerging Markets at Oxford Economics where she managed a large team of economists and was the lead expert on China. 

    She provided macroeconomic forecasts and analysis on China's role in the global economy and the development of Asia, helping a range of companies and international financial institutions to expand into new markets and grow their business.

    Prior to that, Rain worked in monetary policy and international forecast to the MPC at the Bank of England where she led a team with responsibility for developing a risk assessment framework for the UK financial system. 

    While at the Bank, she also went on secondment to the International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C. where she was adviser to the UK executive director. In 2010, Rain was selected as one of Management Today’s 35 Women Under 35.

    Rain was honoured by the World Economic Forum in 2012 as a Young Global Leader.

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  • Image of Neil Carberry

    Neil Carberry

    Director of people & skills

    Image of Neil Carberry

    Neil Carberry

    Neil is CBI Managing Director of People and Infrastructure

    Neil's role is to set out a framework to make the UK a great place to invest and create jobs.

    His team campaigns on behalf of CBI members on labour market and skills issues, including employment law, employee relations, equality and diversity, pay, pensions, education, skills and in-work learning, immigration, health and safety, and human rights.

    Neil is a member of the council of ACAS and of the Low Pay Commission, which makes recommendations about the level of the National Minimum Wage. He is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD.

    Before becoming director, Neil spent four years as Head of Employment and Pensions Policy and he has previously worked in the CBI's public services team as Head of Public Procurement.

    Neil joined the CBI in 2004, after completing a postgraduate degree at the London School of Economics in industrial relations. Before this, he worked as an HR consultant for a number of major financial institutions.

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  • Image of Rhian Kelly

    Rhian Kelly

    Director of infrastructure

    Image of Rhian Kelly

    Rhian Kelly

    Rhian is CBI Director for Infrastructure 

    She spearheads our campaigns to boost investment in infrastructure, the low-carbon economy and the construction industry.

    After joining the CBI in 2006, Rhian delivered the CBI's ground breaking report on climate change in 2007, which helped shift the perception of the role business can play in moving to a low-carbon economy. Rhian became head of Climate Change in 2008.

    Prior to joining the CBI, Rhian studied politics, social and economic history at Edinburgh University. She spent a year in Taipei, Taiwan before moving to Beijing for five years where she worked at the European Union Chamber of Commerce, providing a bridge between Europe and the Chinese government.

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  • Image of Tom Thackray

    Tom Thackray

    Director of innovation

    Image of Tom Thackray

    Tom Thackray

    Tom is CBI Director for Innovation

    Prior to taking his current role, he was Acting Director for Competitive Markets, heading up the CBI’s policy work on financial services, corporate governance and enterprise. He also held responsibility for our campaign to build public trust in business.

    Prior to taking on the role he led our Enterprise team, covering policy issues relevant to small and medium sized businesses and the digital and creative industries.

    He co-authored the CBI’s Future Champions report in 2011, which identified opportunities and barriers to growth for the UK’s medium sized businesses.

    In his five years at the CBI Tom has held a number of positions, including in its infrastructure team and Brussels office.

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  • Image of Charles Naylor

    Charles Naylor

    Director of corporate communications *

    Image of Charles Naylor

    Charles Naylor

    Charles is CBI Director for Corporate Communications

    Charles has almost 30 years of experience of designing and leading corporate affairs strategies for firms in a variety of sectors. He has been Global Head of Communications at Centrica, Credit Suisse and HSBC and before that had senior communications and marketing roles at Hess Corporation and Shell.

    Charles’ expertise encompasses all facets of communications from media relations, digital and social media, internal communications and public affairs, to brand and crisis communications.

    Charles is passionate about helping the CBI create the environment in which business can invest and succeed in order to contribute to the future prosperity of the UK.

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  • Image of Ben Digby

    Ben Digby

    International director

    Image of Ben Digby

    Ben Digby

    Ben is CBI International Director

    Ben is responsible for the CBI’s work on trade and investment, managing our offices in China, India and the United States and our relationships with the Department for International Trade (DIT) and Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

    Prior to this role Ben worked for 3 years as our Deputy Director, International and spent 3 years before that as a senior relationship manager in our Commercial Division. He joined the CBI in 2008 after starting his career at the political consultancy DeHavilland.

    Ben represents the CBI on the Group Board of the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) and is a member of the patient advisory committee of Kidney Research UK..

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  • Image of John Foster

    John Foster

    Director of campaigns

    Image of John Foster

    John Foster

    John is CBI Director of Campaigns

    John leads on the CBI’s political engagement, policy coordination and the organisation’s work on the EU negotiations and Value of Business campaign.

    John joined the CBI in August 2015 as the Head of the CBI’s flagship campaign on public trust, the Great Business Debate before moving to become the CBI’s Head of Campaigns in June 2016.

    Prior to joining the CBI, John worked as a Special Adviser in the Coalition Government, including as Director of Policy Implementation and Innovation for the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, as well as in the Treasury as a Special Adviser to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Sir Danny Alexander.

  • Image of Maxine Bligh

    Maxine Bligh

    Director of marketing & products

    Image of Maxine Bligh

    Maxine Bligh

    Maxine is CBI Director, Marketing & Products

    Maxine leads the CBI’s marketing strategy and is responsible for providing a range of services for business that support their success. The offer builds on the CBI’s unique insight, intelligence and convening power, working in partnership with member companies to make the most of the expertise across the business community.  As part of this Maxine runs the CBI’s Leadership Programme, an executive development offer for business leaders just below board-level.

    In her five years at the CBI Maxine has worked in a range of policy and commercial roles. Previously leading the policy for the CBI’s thought leadership project on raising ambition for all in schools and managing a portfolio of key CBI members in the FMCG sector. Most recently Maxine was the CBI’s Head of Sectoral Affairs & Member Engagement.

    Prior to joining the CBI Maxine was a consultant at SQW Consulting focusing on regional economic development and policy evaluation. Maxine has a BA in Politics and an MA in Post-Conflict Reconstruction from York University.

  • Image of James Fothergill

    James Fothergill

    Director of commercial operations

    Image of James Fothergill

    James Fothergill

    James is CBI Commercial Operations Director

    James’s role is to manage commercial operations, processes, system and procedure compliance, membership analysis and insight. His team is responsible for improving the performance of membership processes, productivity and overall control of the business.

    Before becoming director, James spent three years as Head of Education and Skills Policy covering 14-19 education, further and higher education, and workforce skills development. James has previously worked as Head of Public Services Policy and also in the CBI’s employment policy team where he focused on companies' employee engagement practice, trade union legislation and legislation to prevent employee discrimination.

    James joined the CBI in 2002, after completing a politics degree at Cardiff University.

  • Image of Sean McGuire

    Sean McGuire

    Director of Brussels

    Image of Sean McGuire

    Sean McGuire

    Sean is CBI Director for Brussels

    In his role at the CBI, he is responsible for all CBI’s EU affairs and lobbying activities vis-à-vis the European institutions on key issues of interest for the CBI membership such as environmental policy, employment and social affairs, e-commerce, telecommunications, financial services, consumer policy and transport policy.

    He is also responsible the CBI’s work on international trade and investment, including business links with the G8 and G20.

    As CBI Brussels Director he runs an in-house consultancy, the British Business Bureau (BBB), for UK trade associations as well as the CBI’s Business House in Brussels which houses ten CBI member companies and organisations.

    Sean has been with the CBI since 2001 during which time he held a number of positions within the CBI. Sean is also Vice Chairman of BUSINESSEUROPE’s International Relations Committee.

    Prior to joining the CBI, Sean was European Affairs Adviser for the Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF) in the UK.

  • Image of Hugh Aitken CBE

    Hugh Aitken CBE

    Director of Scotland

    Image of Hugh Aitken CBE

    Hugh Aitken CBE

    Hugh is CBI Director for Scotland

    Hugh joined the CBI after a broad national and international business career spanning three decades, including as General Manager of Microsoft Nevada and Vice-President of Worldwide Manufacturing at Oracle.

    Most recently, Hugh worked for ASCC, Aitken’s supply chain consultancy. He was the company’s President in California and led work on business process simplification and supply chain optimisation for leading companies, like Hewlett Packard. Prior to ASCC, he was General Manager of Microsoft Nevada where he led the company’s operating centres for North and Latin America and its manufacturing facility in Puerto Rico. From 2010-2011, he was Vice-President of Worldwide-Manufacturing at Oracle.

    From 1989 to 2010, Hugh worked at Sun Microsystems in various senior roles. In 2005, he was awarded a CBE for services to the technology industry and charity.

    Between 2000 and 2006, Hugh was Chairman of the Electronics Scotland lobbying group. Hugh is based in Ayr, Scotland.

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  • Image of Ian Price

    Ian Price

    Director of Wales

    Image of Ian Price

    Ian Price

    Ian is CBI Wales Director

    Ian became Director CBI Wales in January 2017 after 11 years of being Assistant Director for both Wales and South West of England. Ian joined the CBI as Assistant Director in September 2005; Ian’s role initially in the CBI involved supporting Welsh and South West businesses with local and national government interface. Ian represented the CBI public sector procurement issues, he also specialises in HR and Employment, and he also headed up SME work for Wales and the South West of England.  He commentates on behalf of the CBI in the media and writes a regularly for business magazines, local and national press on business related issues.

    Prior to joining the CBI Ian worked in recruitment for a number of year and was a Director of Acorn Recruitment, he helped build up the Acorn brand into one of the UK’s leading recruitment companies.

    Ian was in the Royal Air Force for 9 years and served in the Falklands during 1982 and received the South Atlantic Campaign medal. Ian has 1 daughter and lives in Mumbles, he is and enthusiastic runner and runs numerous half and full marathons and is a lifelong Swansea City fan. 

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CBI board

  • Image of Paul Drechsler CBE

    Paul Drechsler CBE

    President

    Image of Paul Drechsler CBE

    Paul Drechsler CBE

    Paul is CBI President

    Mr Drechsler is currently Chairman of Bibby Line Group which is headquartered in Liverpool. Before that he was Chief Executive of the privately-owned construction firm Wates Group.

    He joined Wates in September 2004 and became Chairman and Chief Executive in April 2006 until 2014.

    Prior to joining Wates, Mr Drechsler worked for ICI PLC, spending the first ten years of his career on Teesside. That was followed by 14 years holding various senior positions and living in Brazil, the USA and the Netherlands, which concluded with five years as Chief Executive of one of ICI’s principal international businesses and as a Main Board Director (1998-2003).

    Paul is also Chairman of the board of the charity Teach First, Chancellor of Teesside University and a board member of Business in the Community and Chairman of its Education Leadership Team. He was also the Chairman of the National Skills Funding Agency until September 2015. 

    Mr Drechsler has also been recognised for his outstanding leadership, winning KPMG Chief Executive of the Year for the construction industry and PwC ‘Private Company, Chief Executive of the Year’. During his tenure at the helm, Wates Group won the Business in the Community Company of the Year and the J.P. Morgan Best UK Family Business Award.

    Mr Drechsler has been a member of the CBI Board since 2012 and was Chairman of the CBI Energy Policy Committee between 2007 and 2012 and a member of the Chairmen’s Committee.

    In February 2015, he was honoured by Her Majesty, The Queen with an Honorary CBE for services to the construction industry.

    Mr Drechsler graduated from the University of Dublin, Trinity College, with an (Honours) degree in Engineering Science. He is married with three children.

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  • Image of Carolyn Fairbairn

    Carolyn Fairbairn

    Director-general *

    Image of Carolyn Fairbairn

    Carolyn Fairbairn

    Carolyn is CBI Director-General

    Carolyn joined the CBI as Director-General in November 2015. She spent her early career at McKinsey, before taking on a range of senior leadership roles in the media industry.

    As a partner at McKinsey, Carolyn was a leader of the firm’s media practice. As BBC Director of Strategy, she led the BBC’s digital strategy and ran its transmission arm. Carolyn was also a member of the Executive board of ITV for four years.

    Carolyn has extensive FTSE board experience as a non-executive director of Lloyds Banking Group, The Vitec Group and Capita plc. She was also a Director of the Competition and Markets Authority, the UK Statistics Authority, and from 2008-11, the Financial Services Authority.

    From 1995-97, Carolyn was a member of the Number 10 Policy Unit. She began her career as an economist at the World Bank and then as a journalist for The Economist magazine.

    Carolyn holds a double first-class degree in Economics from Cambridge University, an MBA from INSEAD and MA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania.

    Carolyn is married with three children and lives in Hampshire.

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  • Image of David Gavaghan

    David Gavaghan

    Non-executive director

    Image of David Gavaghan

    David Gavaghan

    David Gavaghan became Chair of CBI Northern Ireland on 1 January 2016.

    After serving as vice chair for one year. He will hold the post of Chair for two years. In June 2016 the CBI AGM voted to appoint David to the CBI Board as a non-executive director.

    David established Aurora Prime Real Estate Limited to focus on a new dawn emerging in Belfast and is seeking to raise £50m locally and internationally to invest in Grade A office space in Belfast.

    He believes that the ingredients are in place for a transformation in Northern Ireland’s capital city returning it in a modern day context to what it was a century ago – a hive of industry, creativity and wealth formation.
    Aurora has combined forces with Crescent Capital - Crescent has been investing in Northern Ireland since 1995 and is the region’s largest independent fund manager.

    Until April 2015, he was Chief Executive of Titanic Quarter Limited - a strategic site that has the potential to become one of the most exciting developments across the islands of Ireland and Britain.

    Previously he was the Executive Director of Quintain Estates and Development plc responsible for the specialist fund management business which focussed on residential healthcare, student accommodation, science parks and niche secondary property in the UK.

    Prior to that, David was Chief Executive of Strategic Investment Board Limited for six years, advising Ministers in Northern Ireland on the infrastructure programme across the region.  He has extensive experience in project and tax based finance and was a Director of Hambros Bank in the City of London.

    David is currently Chair of Visit Belfast and Sports Changes Life as well as the environmental arm of Business in the Community in NI, Arena Network. He is also Vice Chair of the Washington Ireland Program. He is both a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Institution of Civil Engineers

    David has a degree in Economics and Social Studies from Trinity College Dublin having had his secondary education at Blackrock College, Co Dublin. 

  • Image of Heidi Mottram

    Heidi Mottram

    Non-executive director

    Image of Heidi Mottram

    Heidi Mottram

    First attended CBI Board December 2014

    Heidi Mottram was appointed to the Northumbrian Water Group and Northumbrian Water Limited Boards as Chief Executive Officer on 1 April 2010.  Heidi began her career with British Rail in the mid-1980s.  She held a number of roles in GNER, before joining Midland Mainline in 1999 as Operations Director.  She was Commercial Director for Arriva Trains Northern from January 2004, before becoming Managing Director of Northern Rail Limited, the UK’s largest rail franchise.  Heidi was named Rail Business Manager of the Year in 2009 for being an “inspirational leader”, and was awarded an OBE in the New Year honours list 2010, for services to the rail industry.  She is also a Board member of Eurostar International Limited and a Council member of Newcastle University.

  • Image of Vindi Banga

    Vindi Banga

    Non-executive director

    Image of Vindi Banga

    Vindi Banga

    Vindi is a Partner at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, previously he spent 33 years at Unilever plc, where he held a number of senior positions including President of the Global Foods, Home and Personal Care businesses, and was a member of the Unilever Executive Board. At Unilever he led the creation of a One Unilever Global Foods, Home & Personal Care Global Category Organisation. Vindi is Chairman of the Kalle Group; Senior Independent Director of GSK plc and Marks & Spencer's plc. He also sits on the Governing Board of the Indian School of Business. In 2010, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian honours.

  • Image of Sharon Thorne

    Sharon Thorne

    Non-executive director

    Image of Sharon Thorne

    Sharon Thorne

    First attended CBI Board June 2012

    Sharon Thorne is a Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of the CBI.

    Sharon is the Managing Partner Global for Deloitte UK. This is a role which recognises the importance of international trade and investment to the Deloitte network, clients and stakeholders. Sharon is a member of Deloitte UK’s Executive and also on the Global Board of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. Sharon is a senior audit partner with over 28 years’ experience of auditing and advising clients across a broad range of sectors with particular focus on retail, consumer, manufacturing and TMT.  She has led on many FTSE audits and has substantial experience of working with complex global groups, co-ordinating the global firm’s services to these clients.