Digby Jones, Baron Jones of Birmingham

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Jones of Birmingham
Kt
Lord Jones 2.jpg
Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham
Minister of State for Trade and Investment
In office
29 June 2007 – 3 October 2008
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Ian McCartney
Succeeded by Gareth Thomas
Personal details
Born Digby Marritt Jones
(1955-10-28) 28 October 1955 (age 58)
Birmingham, UK
Political party Crossbench
Spouse(s) Patricia, Lady Jones
Alma mater University College London
Profession Businessman
Website www.digbylordjones.com

Digby Marritt Jones, Baron Jones of Birmingham (born 28 October 1955) is a British businessman and politician, who has served as Director General of the CBI (2000–06) and Minister of State for Trade and Investment (2007–08). Lord Jones is currently a Business Ambassador at UK Trade & Investment.

He serves as Chairman of Triumph Motorcycles Limited, Deputy Chairman of Unipart Consultancy Division, Chairman of Grove Industries and a non-executive director Spicers Limited. He is Corporate Advisor to JCB, Advisor to BP plc, Senior Advisor to Harvey Nash plc and Business Advisor to Barberry Developments Limited. He is Chairman of the Emergency Services Advisory Board of Babcock International Group plc and Chairman of Neutrino Concepts Limited. He is a Corporate Ambassador for Jaguar Cars, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Jaguar Academy of Sport, a member of the Advisory Board of Monitise plc, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Argentex LLP, non-executive director of Leicester Tigers plc and chairman ShP Limited.

Education and law career[edit]

Born in Birmingham, Jones was educated at Bromsgrove School where he was Head Boy, and read Law at University College London as a Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Navy on a University Cadetship, graduating with upper second class honours. After graduation, Jones worked for 20 years at Edge & Ellison, a firm of lawyers based in Birmingham.[1]

At the CBI[edit]

Jones was Chairman of the CBI's West Midlands Regional Council and became the first serving regional chairman to be appointed Director-General. He was Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) between 1 January 2000 and 30 June 2006. He was knighted in 2005.[2][3] He then went on to act as an advisor to Barclays Capital, Ford, Deloitte and JCB. He served as the unpaid UK Skills Envoy from 2006–07.

Jones acted as a non-executive director for the IT contractor ISOFT from 2000 until his resignation in July 2005, when he stayed on for one year as an advisor. Following the collapse in the value of iSoft and investigations into its accountancy practices, Jones said "there is a limit to what a non-executive can know... They have to rely on what advisers tell them and what the executive team tells them. It is important that people understand this."

Political career[edit]

On 29 June 2007, Jones became Minister of State for Trade and Investment in both the newly created Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the Foreign Office. He was appointed as a Government Minister in a move to create a government "of all talents".[4] As he was not a parliamentarian at the time, it was announced that Jones would be made a Life Peer, thus becoming a member of the House of Lords. It was suggested that he was taking the Labour whip in the House of Lords, but he subsequently chose not to join the Labour Party. He was gazetted as a peer on 10 July 2007 as Baron Jones of Birmingham, of Alvechurch and of Bromsgrove in the County of Worcestershire,[5] and took his seat in the House of Lords that same day.

Formally styled Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham, he sits as a Crossbencher in the Upper House.

Jones had considered running for Mayor of London after being encouraged by a group of prominent businessmen. He was also approached by the Conservative Party about becoming its official candidate, but rejected this idea.[6]

In April 2008 Lord Jones announced his intention to resign as Minister of Trade and Investment later in the year.[7][8] He resigned in October 2008 and was appointed to be a UK Business Ambassador for UK Trade & Investment.[9] In testimony to the Public Administration Committee he said that his time as a junior minister was "one of the most dehumanising and depersonalising experiences" anyone could have, and that he had been amazed by how many civil servants he thought deserved the sack.[10]

On 16 January 2009, in a subsequent blog entry on the Daily Telegraph's blogsite, Lord Jones was described as "the walking personification of the spirit of big business at its corporatist worst".[11]

On 20 September 2013, he spoke at the UK Independence Party conference in London as a guest speaker, addressing the conference on business and economic matters.

Other posts[edit]

Lord Jones is a Corporate Ambassador for the Cancer Research UK Corporate Ambassadors. He is President of the Diversity Works initiative – a programme led by the disability organisation Scope, a Diamond Ambassador for Mencap's WorkRight initiative, designed to spread the message of equality for disabled people, a Vice-President of Birmingham Hospice, and a Patron of Lifecycle UK, Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer and Get A-Head, the cancer charity fighting head and neck diseases.

He is also a Vice-President of the Friends of the British Library, a charity which provides funding support to the British Library.[12]

Lord Jones is a Vice-Patron of the National Museum of the Royal Navy. The National Museum through its six museums tell the stories and preserves the rich heritage of all aspects of the Royal Navy.

He is a non executive director of Leicester Tigers Rugby plc.[13] He is a Vice-President of The Birmingham Civic Society and President of the Speakers Trust, and was their Speaker of the Year in 2008. Lord Jones is Non-Executive Deputy Chairman of the Unipart Expert Practices (UEP) Division.

In November 2006, Jones was appointed "Business Adviser" to HRH The Duke of York, receiving £1,000 a month from the royal payroll for working one day a month. This position ended upon his appointment as a Minister in July 2007. He is now an advisor to the Duke in relation to his work with UK Trade & Investment, but on an unpaid basis.[14][15]

Fellowships and doctorates[edit]

Jones is a Fellow of University College London (2004); an Honorary Fellow of Cardiff University (2004); and 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), Queen's University, Belfast (2006), Warwick University (2006), Bradford University (2006), Wolverhampton University (2006), Nottingham University, Loughborough 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 Business School International Advisory Board.

View on unions[edit]

Lord Jones has said:

Media appearances[edit]

Digby Jones was the guest on BBC Radio's Desert Island Discs, broadcast on 21 May 2006. He won BBC1's Celebrity Mastermind with a 9-point margin finishing on 33 points on 5 January 2011. Digby Jones nominated Winston Churchill on BBC Radio 4 Great Lives – listen online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00tpsvk

He presents the BBC Two programme The New Troubleshooter where he "helps businesses realise their potential, ruffling feathers and bruising egos along the way as he gets stuck in and delivers his analysis and advice", taking over the mantle of the late John Harvey-Jones who presented the original series Troubleshooter.[17]

Books[edit]

In 2011 Lord Jones published his first book "Fixing Britain – the Business of Reshaping our Nation" which was shortlisted for the 2012 CMI Management Book of the Year.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Lord Jones is a supporter of Aston Villa FC[19] and a member of the Reform Club.

Styles and honours[edit]

  • Mr Digby Jones (1955–2004)
  • Sir Digby Jones (2004–2007)
  • The Lord Jones of Birmingham (2007 – present)

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.digbylordjones.com/biography.html
  2. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57509. p. 1. 31 December 2004. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 57737. p. 10898. 23 August 2005.
  4. ^ Brown brings in more 'outsiders' BBC News, 29 June 2007
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 58392. p. 10219. 16 July 2007. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  6. ^ "Tories in Digby mayor offer spat". BBC News. 6 July 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2007. 
  7. ^ Business minister Lord Jones of Birmingham plans to jump ship Times Online, 15 April 2008
  8. ^ Digby Jones offers Brown 100% support despite plans to quit The Guardian, 16 April 2008
  9. ^ Carl Mortishead (4 October 2008). "Former M&S chairman Paul Myners becomes Minister for the City". The Times. Retrieved 4 October 2008. 
  10. ^ Summers, Deborah (16 January 2009). "Brown steps in after Digby Jones calls for half of civil service to be sacked". The Guardian. 
  11. ^ Martin, Iain "Fire Digby Jones" Daily Telegraph blogsite, 16 January 2009
  12. ^ "Friends of the British Library Annual Report 2006/07". Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  13. ^ Sir Digby Jones appointed to Tigers Board Guinness Premiership, 5 October 2005
  14. ^ 'Airmiles Andy' attempts image overhaul The Independent, 24 February 2007
  15. ^ Duke of York official website[dead link]
  16. ^ a b Elliott, Larry (26 June 2006). "Sir Digby rides off with all guns blazing". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2007. 
  17. ^ "BBC Two – Digby Jones: The New Troubleshooter". Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  18. ^ CMI Book of the Year Website
  19. ^ David Cameron has been Aston Villa fan since a teenager Birmingham Post, 14 May 2010

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Adair Turner
Director of the Confederation of British Industry
2000–2006
Succeeded by
Richard Lambert
Political offices
Preceded by
Ian McCartney
Minister of State for Trade
2007–2008
Succeeded by
Gareth Thomas