Business guru Lord Digby Jones, Former Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), is widely regarded as an exceedingly original, experienced and insightful speaker. Selected by the ‘Association of Speakers Clubs’ as the 2008 ‘Speaker of the Year’, Digby entertains and inspires audiences around the globe with his memorable, bespoke presentations at conferences, seminars and dinners.
Born into a business background in Birmingham in 1955, Digby Jones won a major scholarship to Bromsgrove School and gained a 2:1 honours degree in law at University College, London.
After a time in the Royal Navy, he started his career with the corporate law firm Edge & Ellison in 1978, making partner in 1984.
Lord Jones made his name in corporate finance and client development; he extended the firm's London presence and helped establish its reputation globally. He was involved in most of the major management buy-outs, and merger and acquisition activity in the West Midlands in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was made Deputy Senior Partner in 1990 and Senior Partner in 1995.
In 1998 he joined KPMG as Vice-Chairman of corporate finance, acting as close adviser to many public companies across the United Kingdom and in KPMG's global markets.
He became Director-General of the CBI in January 2000. Originally intended to serve a five-year non-renewable term of office, in 2003 this was extended at the request of CBI members, to seven years. As the Chief Executive of the UK's 'voice of business', he regularly visited businesses around the globe, relaying their views to those who make the rules. He features regularly on television, radio and in the newspapers, promoting the interests of wealth and job creation. He has taken the British business message to over 60 different countries since he was appointed.
Some of his appointments include: Minister of State from July 2007 for Trade & Investment, a job that has seen him travel across the World talking to Heads of State representing British Businesses, one of the first to receive the so-called 'goats' (government of all the talents), Vice-President of UNICEF, Chairman of the Cancer Research UK Ambassadors, a Director of Business in the Community, a member of the Advisory Board of the Commonwealth Education Fund, a Commissioner on the Commission for Racial Equality and President of the Tourism Alliance. A member of the National Learning and Skills Council and of the Skills Alliance, he has gained 11 honorary degrees. He is also President of the University College, London Campaign (2004).
In 1998, as Chairman of the Birmingham Hospice Appeal, he personally raised £218,000 towards their target by cycling from John O'Groats to Lands End. On 17 April 2005, he raised £191,000 for both Cancer Research UK and UNICEF by running the Flora London Marathon.
He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the 2005 New Year Honours List.
When he left the CBI in 2006, he spent the next 12 months as advisor to Deloitte and Barclays Capital, holding a variety of non-executive board roles and was the unpaid UK Skills Envoy.
In 2007 he was appointed Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment and became a life peer, taking the title Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham Kt.
As of 2009, he serves as Chairman of the International Business Advisory Board at HSBC, Chairman of Triumph Motorcycles Limited, and is Corporate Ambassador for Jaguar Cars and JCB. He advises in a number of other paid and unpaid roles, fulfilling his vision of promoting socially inclusive wealth creation.
Lord Digby Jones headlined the new World Travel Market Business Day on 11 November 2010.
He appeared on Celebrity Mastermind early 2011, winning the title handsomely with a total of 33 points.
Over the years he has shared the stage with the world’s leading Statesmen and Stateswomen and spoken at Party Political Conferences, embracing insightful and topical views on the world’s economies.A highly engaging presenter, well known for his forthright and direct approach, Lord Digby Jones combines the serious and the jovial for audiences of all kinds.
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