Digby Jones, vice-chairman of corporate finance at accountant KPMG, is to be the next director-general of the CBI, succeeding Adair Turner on 1 January.
Jones becomes the first CBI regional chairman to take over the top job. He pledged to make the organisation more relevant to small businesses and the regions, and said his other priorities would be transport, skills and training, e-commerce, Europe and abolishing red tape. He also promised constructive dialogue with the Government and trade unions.
He emphasised his industry credentials as a non-executive director until 1998 of automotive supplier Woodcote Industries.
As CBI West Midlands regional chairman he said he was well aware of the effects of the strong pound on competitiveness.
`Eighteen months ago, it wasn’t so much at what level sterling ended up but the speed with which it got there that businesses were not prepared for,’ he said. `Now I’m happy to report that, at least from a West Midlands point of view, not only have businesses got things sorted out but they are far more optimistic than they have been for the past two years.’
* Leader comment, p10