Lord Digby Jones has been at the forefront of British business for many years, most notably as Director General of the CBI from 2000 until 2006 and then Minister of State for Trade and Investment in 2007-2008. His down-to-earth approach in addressing the problems that British business faces - and its need to develop in the right direction - have sometimes met with resistance, but his no-nonsense, practical views have been highly appreciated by a far greater proportion of the business community. Digby is a man who likes to push the agenda, not push pens!
Digby Jones was virtually born into business: seeing first-hand his parents' business skills as corner shop owners taught him the value of good customer care, and also the importance of profit and loss! When, in the mid-sixties, the supermarkets began to move into the area, he also learned about the vulnerability of business.
Digby graduated from University College London and subsequently worked for 20 years at Edge & Ellison, a Birmingham-based firm of lawyers, where he worked his way up from Articled Clerk to Senior Partner.
In 2000, he joined the CBI and was at last able to put some of his ideas into action. During his six and a half years as Director General he became known for his candid, forthright attitude, especially in his many media appearances. He campaigned relentlessly on a range of issues, including the move from traditional manufacturing of commodities to value-added, innovative products and services. He also lobbied against protectionism, protesting that "it is a scourge which may well find short term popularity but inhibits growth, reduces wealth and oppresses the weak".
In 2005, he was knighted for his services to business and became Sir Digby Jones in the Queen's New Years Honours List.
When he left the CBI in 2006, Digby spent a year in the private sector as advisor to Deloitte and Barclays Capital, as well as holding a variety of non-executive board roles. He was also UK Skills Envoy, a role through which he became increasingly concerned about the levels of adult illiteracy and innumeracy in the UK.
In July 2007, Digby was appointed Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment and became a life peer, taking the title, Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham Kt. Forthright and ever-loyal to the needs of British business, he spent the next 15 months "doing it in a different way". He did not join the party of government, and thus unencumbered by any ambition to progress in party politics he instead concentrated on promoting British business across the world, travelling to 31 countries in 45 overseas visits.
Today, in addition to his role as an active crossbencher in the House of Lords, Digby serves as Chairman of Triumph Motorcycles Ltd, Chairman of Grove Industries, and Corporate Ambassador for Jaguar Cars and JCB. He is also an Advisor to Babcock International Group plc. He advises in a number of other paid and unpaid roles too, helping to fulfil his vision of promoting socially-inclusive wealth creation.
Lord Digby Jones is one of the very best Business Speakers available today. He is also a fine, witty After-dinner Speaker. To book him for your conference or function, contact a Prime Performers Booking Agent via the online booking enquiry form or alternatively call 020 7251 8222 for further information.
- Welsh comedian and TV presenter
- Former Conservative Party Leader, Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons. Best selling author with books on William Pitt The Younger and William Wilbeforce, the Great Anti Slave campaigner.
- Welsh rugby union player for Llanelli, Wales, the British Lions, and Barbarians
Phil Bennett OBE