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Special Session: ‘Pandemic Lessons. On the Way to the Education of the Future’

December 15, 2020

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J Digby'This is one of the most remarkable people I have ever come across. His commitment, his dedication and his enthusiasm are extraordinary. He is a great British patriot'.

Tony Blair, as Prime Minister CBI annual dinner May 2006

Lord Digby Jones
Llb(Hons), D.Univ, D.Lit, DL, D.Sc(econ), CIMgt, FRI, HonFIIMechE

Chairman of Triumph Motorcycles Limited; Non-Executive Deputy Chairman of the Unipart Expert Practices (UEP) Division; Chairman of Grove Industries; Corporate Adviser to JCB, Senior Adviser to Harvey Nash plc; Corporate Ambassador to Aon Risk Solutions; Business Adviser to Barberry Developments Limited; Senior Adviser of Babcock International Group plc; Corporate Ambassador for Jaguar Cars; Chairman of the Advisory Board of Argentex LLP; Non-executive Director of Thatchers Cider Ltd; Non-executive Director of Cell Therapy Ltd; Non-executive Director of Leicester Tigers plc; Chairman of ShP Limited.

He made Partner at Edge and Ellison in 1984 and it was in corporate finance and client development that he made his name. He was responsible for developing the firm’s London presence and establishing its representation in many European countries and several states in America. 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, becoming the Firm’s 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. Digby served as Director-General of the CBI, the Confederation of British Industry, the UK’s ŒVoice of Business¹, from 1 January 2000 to 30 June 2006 where he regularly visited businesses in the UK and worldwide ­ taking their views back to those who make the rules. During his appointment he took the British business message to 70 different countries, internationalising the organisation and opening CBI offices in Washington DC and Beijing. Following his departure from the CBI he held a number of senior corporate advisory positions ­ Senior Adviser to the Executive of Deloitte; Senior Adviser to Barclays Capital; Corporate and Governmental Affairs Adviser to Ford of Europe and its Premier Automotive Group; Senior Adviser to JCB; Special Adviser to His Royal Highness the Duke of York in connection with his role as the UK Special Representative for International Trade & Investment; Senior Adviser to Computer Science Corporation Inc., Member of the Advisory Board of Thales (UK) Ltd; Adviser to Hugh James, Solicitors, Cardiff and London, Adviser to Wragge & Co., Solicitors, Birmingham and London, Non-Executive Director of Alba Plc, i-Clean Systems Ltd. and Leicester Tigers Rugby plc. In 2007 he served as the UK’s Skills Envoy, campaigning for both private and public sector employers to raise the level of skills of all of their employees to Level Two by 2010. Digby is a Fellow of University College London (2004), an Honorary Fellow of Cardiff University (2004), an Honorary Doctor of the University of Central England (2002), the University of Birmingham (2002), the University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology (2003), the University of Hertfordshire (2004), Middlesex University (2005), Sheffield Hallam University (2005), Aston University (2006), the University of Hull (2006), Queen¹s University, Belfast (2006), Warwick University (2006), Bradford University (2006), Thames Valley University (2006), Wolverhampton University (2006), Loughborough University (2007), Nottingham University (2007) and Honorary Fellow of Cardiff Metropolitan University (2013). He is a visiting professor at the University of Hull Business School and Chairman of the Birmingham University Business School Advisory Board. Digby was Joint-Founder of Enterprise Insight (2000) now the Make-your-Mark Organisation, he served as a Commissioner for Racial Equality (2001 to 2007) and also served as an Ambassador for Investors in People (2004 - 2007), was President of the Diversity Works Initiative (2004 - 2007) ­ a programme led by the disability organisation, Scope. He was a Director of Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre (2004 ­ 2007). President of Heads, Teachers and Industry (2004-07), Deputy President of the Institute of Export (2005 - 2007) and Vice President of the Friends of the British Library (2005 - 2007). He was President of the Ambassadors for the West Midlands region (2004 - 2007) and Honorary President of Birmingham Forward (2006 - 2007), the professional services lobby group. He was an Ambassador to Microsoft’s Britain Works Programme (2009-2010) and an Honorary Fellow of UNICEF (2002 ­ 2012). Digby is a Corporate Ambassador for Cancer Research UK. He is a Diamond Ambassador for Mencap’s WorkRight initiative, designed to spread the message of equality for disabled people, a Vice-President of Birmingham Hospice, a Patron of the following - Lifecycle UK, the Campaign for Learning, Every Child a Reader, London Excellence, Marie Curie Cancer Care West Midlands Hospice Appeal and Just a Drop. He is Corporate Ambassador and member of the Royal British Legion and a member of the Aston Reinvestment Trust. He is a member of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Development Trust, a Trustee of Millennium Point, Birmingham, a Patron of F1 in Schools, a Patron of the Guernsey Community Foundation, a Patron of the British Romanian Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of the Industrial Trust, Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers. He is Vice President of the Birmingham Civic Society and a Guardian of the Birmingham Assay Office, a member of the Bromsgrove School Foundation Board, Chairman Kind Edward VI School Stratford Fundraising Initiative, Honorary Vice Patron of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, a member of The Reform Club, a member of the Yorkshire Society, a Freeman of the City of London and a member of the Japan Society. He is a member of the UK India Business Council Advisory Board and a member of the Major Projects All Party Group established to look at the challenges associated with major infrastructure projects across the UK. Digby was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Birmingham Law Society in 2001 and an Award recognising a Lifetime Contribution to Midlands Business by the Midlands Business Awards in 2009. He was Chairman of the London Board of Sportaccord (2010-2011). In 1998, as Chairman of the Birmingham Hospice Appeal, which raised £1.5 million, he personally raised £218,000 towards their target by cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End in 14 days. He ran the 2005 London Marathon in under six hours raising £191,000 for both Cancer Research UK and UNICEF. In 2014 Lord Jones Received the EVCOM fellowship award for services for the communications industry. Lord Jones appears regularly on television, radio and in the newspapers, being known for his firm views on numerous aspects of life in a globalised economy. He is an active public speaker at events and engagements all over the world and was President of the Speakers Trust (2008-2009). He is also the Association of Speaker Clubs Speaker of the Year 2008. Digby won the BBC's Celebrity Mastermind and published his first book titled "Fixing Britain - the business of reshaping our nation" in 2011. He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the 2005 New Year Honours¹ List. From 01 July 2007 to 04 October 2008 he served as the United Kingdom Minister of State for Trade & Investment accepting a lifetime peerage in the House of Lords where he now sits on the cross benches and is known as Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham. During his 15 months in Ministerial office he made 45 overseas visits, travelling to 31 different countries and meeting with the world’s top business leaders and politicians. He changed the way that UK Trade & Investment was perceived in delivering a record year for inward investment and expanding the UK’s presence in all of the major international markets. Following his departure from Ministerial office he was appointed as a Business Ambassador for UK Trade & Investment until March 2013. 

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