Andy Street

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Andy Street
CBE
Andy Street.jpg
Mayor of the West Midlands
Assumed office
8 May 2017
Preceded byOffice created
Personal details
BornAndrew John Street
(1963-06-11) 11 June 1963 (age 55)
Banbury, Oxfordshire, England
Political partyConservative
Alma materKeble College, Oxford
ProfessionBusinessman
Websiteandy4wm.co.uk

Andrew John Street CBE (born 11 June 1963) is a British businessman and politician who was the managing director of John Lewis from 2007 to 2016, when he resigned to run for Mayor of the West Midlands. Street won the May 2017 mayoral election, defeating Siôn Simon in the second round with 50.4% of the vote. He is the United Kingdom's first openly gay directly-elected metro mayor.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Banbury, Oxfordshire, Street moved to Birmingham with his parents, both scientists,[2] when he was ten months old, growing up in Northfield and Solihull.[3] He attended Green Meadow Infants School, Langley Junior School and King Edward's School in Edgbaston.[3][4] He studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Keble College, Oxford, where he was President of the Oxford University Conservative Association in the Trinity term of 1984.[5]

Business career[edit]

After graduating, Street harboured ambitions to be a social worker, but he was turned down by Birmingham City Council.[2] He was also famously turned down for the Marks & Spencer training scheme.[2][6] Street thus started his career at the John Lewis Partnership in 1985 as a trainee at Brent Cross.[2]

After roles in department stores, head office and manufacturing units, Street became managing director of John Lewis Milton Keynes in 1993,[2] moving to the same role at Bluewater five years later. In 2000 he became supply chain director and then, two years later, director of personnel.[2] He became managing director in 2007 and, during his tenure at the top, oversaw a 50% increase in gross sales to over £4.4bn, a doubling in the number of stores and the growth of the company's online sales department, in spite of the Great Recession.[2][7]

Political career[edit]

Mayoral election[edit]

On 29 September 2016, Street was officially selected by Conservatives to stand in the first election for Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, which took place on 4 May 2017.[8] Street said: "[The Combined Authority] will determine how we create wealth here and what type of society the West Midlands will become. I promise to work tirelessly to convince voters that I am the man to lead us through these decisions... Our economy is being renewed but we have much more to do to ensure everybody feels the benefit. Our mission is therefore to build the economic powerhouse of Britain in an inclusive way. That will need leadership from somebody who has a proven record, can bring people together and can represent us with passion. This election needs to go beyond traditional political loyalties and I look forward to seeking voters' support for the job ahead."[9] The following day, it was confirmed that Street would leave John Lewis at the end of October 2016.[10] He was succeeded by Paula Nickolds, who assumed the role in January 2017.[11]

For too long, Labour has taken voters [in the West Midlands] for granted. We can win here, we will win here. We really can do it, and so that's why I'm going to leave a job I love, to lead the place I love. This is a campaign that is moderate, inclusive and tolerant, and is made in the West Midlands.

 – From Street's speech to Conservative Party conference 2016[12]

In a speech at the 2016 Conservative Party conference, Street declared his support for Birmingham's bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games. He also announced that he would seek to address the "imbalance" in transportation spending that sees London receive seven times as much spending on transport infrastructure per head as the West Midlands does. Street said that fighting inequality would also be a priority, as "social challenges can only be met when everybody shares the fruits of economic progress", saying that he would draw on the lessons of Joseph Chamberlain and his own experiences with the John Lewis Partnership, which shares profits with all of its employees. He also called for a series of debates with Labour candidate Siôn Simon and Liberal Democrat candidate Beverley Nielsen.[13]

Street was endorsed by The Lord Jones of Birmingham, a businessman and crossbench peer who formerly served as Minister of State for Trade and Investment under Gordon Brown.[14][15]

Street was elected Mayor of the West Midlands on 4 May 2017 with 238,628 votes (216,280 first preferences, and 22,348 transfers) in the second round of voting, and in October of the same year was placed 82nd on commentator Iain Dale's list of 'The Top 100 Most Influential People on the Right'.[16]

Political views[edit]

Street has been an outspoken critic of continually-rising business rates, arguing that "property is the way retailers have made money historically and we need a system that is a reflection of the future", though he doesn't believe that online transaction taxes are the answer.[6]

Other posts[edit]

In addition to his business career, Street has worked extensively in local economic development, being named Chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership in April 2011.[17] The announcement of his appointment came weeks after the news that John Lewis would open a flagship store in the newly developed Grand Central shopping centre above New Street station.[17] Street stepped down from this role in September 2016 after announcing his intention to run for Mayor of the West Midlands. He has been lead non-executive director for the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as a member of Prime Minister David Cameron's Business Advisory Group.[18]

Street was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 Birthday Honours for services to economic growth.[19] He was named the 'Most Admired Leader' of the year by business magazine Management Today in 2014.[5] He received the 'President's award' from the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce in for his services to the region. He holds honorary degrees with Birmingham City University, the University of Birmingham and Aston University.[20]

Personal life[edit]

For more than 20 years from his school days, Street was involved with the charity Birmingham Young Volunteers (BYV) Adventure Camps, taking underprivileged children nominated by Birmingham Social Services to Wales for adventure camps. Street is a supporter of Aston Villa F.C. and runs half-marathons.[6] He is Vice-Chairman of Performances Birmingham Limited, which is responsible for running the city's Symphony and Town Halls.[21]

Street is openly gay.[1] He is a close friend of the conservative MP Michael Fabricant.[22][23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Butterworth, Benjamin (5 May 2017). "Conservative Andy Street becomes UK's first directly-elected gay metro mayor". Pink News. Archived from the original on 6 May 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Julia Finch (9 September 2013). "Humble MD who is never knowingly underpaid". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b Neil Elkes (18 September 2016). "Who is Andy Street?". The Birmingham Mail. Archived from the original on 9 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  4. ^ Steve Dyson (9 September 2013). "BQ West Midlands". Business Quarter West Midlands. Archived from the original on 12 May 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  5. ^ a b Matthew Gwyther (1 December 2014). "John Lewis MD Andy Street: 'Our moral compass is always in play'". Management Today. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Ashley Armstrong (20 December 2015). "'I don't want any of my presents from John Lewis' pleads Andy Street". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 4 September 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  7. ^ Rebecca Burn-Callander (1 December 2014). "John Lewis boss voted UK's 'most admired' leader". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  8. ^ Ben Martin (30 September 2016). "Veteran John Lewis boss Andy Street to step down to fight West Midlands mayoral contest". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 30 September 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  9. ^ Jonathan Walker (29 September 2016). "It's official: Conservatives select Andy Street as West Midlands Mayor candidate". The Birmingham Mail. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  10. ^ Tamlyn Jones (30 September 2016). "John Lewis announces departure date for Andy Street". The Birmingham Mail. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  11. ^ Tamlyn Jones (12 November 2016). "John Lewis appoints Paula Nickolds as first female managing director". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 October 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  12. ^ Andy Street (2 October 2016). "Street: Speech to Conservative Party Conference 2016". conservatives.com. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  13. ^ Jonathan Walker (30 September 2016). "Conservative conference: Mayor candidate Andy Street says he can win in the West Midlands". The Birmingham Mail. Archived from the original on 3 October 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  14. ^ Walker, Jonathan (19 May 2016). "Battle to be Greater Birmingham Mayor is already becoming brutal". Archived from the original on 26 September 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  15. ^ Midlands Today, BBC1, 16 September 2016
  16. ^ Dale, Iain (2 October 2017). "The Top 100 Most Influential People On The Right: Iain Dale's 2017 List". LBC. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  17. ^ a b "John Lewis MD named as chairman of Birmingham & Solihull LEP". The Birmingham Post. 7 April 2011. Archived from the original on 10 October 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  18. ^ Danielle Wightman-Stone (18 November 2015). "John Lewis' Andy Street to advise government". Fashion United. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  19. ^ "No. 61256". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2015. p. B10.
  20. ^ Tamlyn Jones (29 April 2016). "Selfridges and Andy Street take home chamber awards". The Birmingham Post. Archived from the original on 10 October 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  21. ^ "The Birmingham Business School Advisory Board Guest Lecture". Birmingham University. Archived from the original on 10 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017.

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