2016 was a year that the business community won't forget. The historic vote by the British people to leave the EU will change the UK economy for generations to come.

Both before and after the referendum, the CBI was front and centre putting across the business view to help inform this debate. In these challenging times we have put the voice of business at the heart of key decisions – establishing good relationships with the new government and feeding into its programme at every opportunity.

On the domestic front, we saw important progress towards renewing our national infrastructure with big decisions on Hinkley Point and Heathrow. And the government has also shown willingness to bring in changes that respect the strength of the UK's corporate governance framework.

Our Annual Conference in 2016 focussed on innovation, where we saw both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition set out their visions for the future. Theresa May announced a welcome boost to research funding, while Jeremy Corbyn set out his new Contract for Business. We were pleased to once again welcome member companies of all sizes and from across the entire UK to the stage, showcasing the best of British business. A fantastic day, and thank you to all those members who helped make it a success.

Front and centre this year will be our future relationship with the EU, we will keep speaking out on the issues that matter to business, from access to EU markets and talent, to the importance of avoiding damaging cliff edges. W e stand ready to support the negotiations to get the best possible deal for the UK by ensuring that the economic case is heard loud and clear.

Business welcomes the Prime Minister's ambition to create a more prosperous, open and global Britain, with the freest possible trade between the UK and the EU. Now we need to seize the opportunity. And from President Trump taking power in the US to new opportunities in China, India and beyond, our international offices will keep providing the latest intelligence, helping our members navigate a changing world.

I would like to express my appreciation for the hard work and contributions by all the team at the CBI during the past year. A big thank you to members of the CBI Board, where we were pleased to welcome David Gavaghan and Vindi Banga as new additions. Thanks also to the President's and Chairs' Committee for their challenge, support, advice and guidance. Finally a thank you to our members whose engagement is so vital to the success and impact of the CBI.

As we look forward to 2017 and the new opportunities and challenges it will bring, I know Carolyn Fairbairn and the fantastic team will continue to take the CBI from strength to strength.


Figure and caption

Paul Drechsler, CBE
CBI President



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