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Lord Digby Jones

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Senior partner at Edge & Ellison, former Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment and successful business advisor

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5 out of 5 stars

"Lord Digby Jones was inspiring, an incredibly motivational speaker I have heard nothing but good things from the audience of 250 people."

Penny Corbett - Saffery Champness See all references
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Keynote Speaker Lord Digby Jones learned a lot about the principles of business from an early age, and after twenty years at Edge & Ellison he achieved a senior partner position. In 2005 he was knighted for his services to business and in 2007 he was appointed Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment taking the title, Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham Kt. He is known for his candid, up-front attitude in his many media appearances.

Digby Jones was introduced to business early. Some of his first memories are of life in a corner shop where he lived with his family. The shop was in Alvechurch just outside Birmingham. He remembers spending a lot of time pressed against the shop window observing the new Minis leave the factory destined for showrooms across the UK and the world. It was here he learnt the first principles of business – important values that have stuck with him.

At an early age he discovered the importance of good customer care as well as the concept of profit and loss, the essence of good business management became an everyday occurrence for the young boy. In the mid-sixties, when supermarkets emerged in the area, he also learned about the vulnerability of business.

His parents sold the shop when he was ten years old, where his father became a full-time student, before he qualified as Probation Officer. Meanwhile his mother worked as an Assistant Physiotherapist at the local hospital. He thus became aware of two very different aspects of the public sector during this time period.

Despite a childhood with little money, the Jones children had a good life with “much love” and “lots of laughter and fun”. Both of which made him appreciate the importance of family values as well as good money management.

Digby attended Alvechurch Primary School, showing early promise winning a scholarship to Bromsgrove School, a Public School for Boys. Aside from studies he played rugby and hockey for the school and ultimately became Head Boy. Digby was ambitious and full of life, but was not afraid of the occasional prank. Unfortunately ‘streaking around the quadrangle’ because of a bet led to his expulsion only few days before he was due to leave school.

During his three years with the Royal Navy Digby learnt about leadership, teamwork and the importance of constant communication.

Upon graduating from University College London, Digby spent 20 years with Edge & Ellison, a Birmingham-based firm of lawyers, where he went from being Articled Clerk to Senior Partner. During these years he was very involved in all aspects of business from running the firm “as a business” to recruiting and managing several hundred employees. At this firm he developed a vision of business and its role in society, and began to believe firmly in socially inclusive wealth creation.

He joined the CBI in 2000 where he put some of these ideas into action. As Director General he became known in the public arena especially for his open, up-front attitude 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.

His views on the Public Sector is still a subject of great debate. He has stressed that, “if fundamental reform does not take place, from working practices right through to pension provision, we will end up with an ever-diminishing private sector trying to pay for, and provide pensions for, an ever increasing and inefficient, unproductive, self-interested public sector”.

In 2005 he was knighted and became Sir Digby Jones in the Queen’s New Years Honours List for his services to business.

In 2006, upon leaving the CBI in 2006 he spent the next 12 months in the private sector as advisor to Deloitte and Barclays Capital, where he held a variety of non-executive board roles, and was the unpaid UK Skills Envoy. In this time he became outraged about the levels of adult illiteracy and innumeracy in the UK, and made the point that it will not be possible to have a safer and healthier society if people lack self-respect or aspiration.

In July 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. Loyal to British business he spent the following 15 months “doing it in a different way”. He did not join the party of government and without the ambition to progress in politics he focused on the business of promoting Britain across the world, travelling to 31 countries.

In addition to being an active crossbencher in the House of Lords he serves as Chairman of several industries including Triumph Motorcycles Limited, Chairman of Grove Industries, as well as several others. Additionally he is an advisor to Babcock International Group plc and Chairman of the Emergency Services Advisory Board of Babcock International Group plc. He advises in a number of other paid and unpaid roles, fulfilling his vision of promoting socially inclusive wealth creation.

See keynotes with Lord Digby Jones

    Speaker Lord Digby Jones Keynote Topics

    • Topics are adapted to suit clients’ individual needs and preferences embracing insightful and topical views on the world’s economies; the changing face of business in the 21st century; and closer to home the ongoing public versus private sector debates.
    • His seminars on leadership and management are much in demand.

References

Lord Digby Jones was inspiring, an incredibly motivational speakerI have heard nothing but good things from the audience of 250 people.

Penny Corbett

Saffery Champness
10.14.2014

Interview with Lord Digby Jones

What does the audience take away from your keynotes?

  • The power of business to bring everyone in society forwards and upwards.
  • The importance for the developed world to keep investing in people and equipment to stay globally competitive.
  • The importance of global emerging markets and why they are an opportunity and not a threat to Europe.
  • The need for extensive and immediate reform in the European Union.

How did you discover the importance of customer care?
Starting with the corner shop in Birmingham where I was brought up and my parents survived or failed on looking after the customers, continuing with developing a major client base at the corporate law firm in Birmingham where we had to try harder or fail.  Also, enhancing the membership at the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) by “loving our members to bits”.  All taught me that the customer comes first, second and third.

What is the most unique experience you have had as a result of your job?

There is a tie for first place: –

  • A private audience with HM The Queen in my last year as Director General of the CBI
  • Delivering my maiden speech in the House of Lords.

How has knighthood changed your life?
The knighthood in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list in 2005 was recognition of the contribution to business and charity. It was an honour that had no effect on my working day. Becoming a member of the House of Lords in July 2007 has been an enormous privilege but brings with it a duty to contribute to the legislature of the nation by dipping into my experiences gathered over 30 years in business.

How do you separate business and politics in your keynotes?
I invite the audience to come with me on a journey. We go round the world together looking at the opportunities of global markets; we explore how the political situations in various developed democracies inhibit or assist the development of people and the creation of wealth; I leave a business audience in no doubt that without the wealth they create, the jobs they provide and the tax they generate there would be no public services from California to the Ural Mountains, from the Arctic Circle to the tip of Italy.

See keynotes with Lord Digby Jones
Non-binding request for Lord Digby Jones

Send a simple request. You’ll get a quick reply with fees and availability

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Lord Digby Jones

5 out of 5 stars

"Lord Digby Jones was inspiring, an incredibly motivational speaker I have heard nothing but good things from the audience of 250 people."

Penny Corbett - Saffery Champness See all references

Keynote topics with Lord Digby Jones