Lord (Karan) Bilimoria CBE has been elected as the new CBI President at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) held earlier today (Tuesday 16 June 2020). John Allan CBE, the outgoing CBI President, becomes the organisation’s Vice-President.

Indian-born Lord Bilimoria was elected by an overwhelming majority of CBI members who participated in the ballot, becoming the first President in the organisation’s history from a (BAME) Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background.

He is one of the country’s leading entrepreneurs. He founded Cobra Beer in 1989 – and remains its Chairman to this day – and was also founding Chairman on the UK-India Business Council.  A former Chancellor of Thames Valley University (now the University of West London); he was the youngest University Chancellor in the UK when appointed.. In 2014, he was appointed as the 7th Chancellor of the University of Birmingham. He is also Chair of the University of Cambridge Judge Business School Advisory Board. Lord Bilimoria has been an Independent Crossbench Peer in the UK House of Lords for 14 years.

Further details of Lord Bilimoria’s career in business and politics can be found here.

Lord Bilimoria, CBI President, said:

“I am honoured to be President of the CBI during this hugely important time for UK business.  As the four nations of our country embark upon an ambitious economic recovery plan, I will do all I can to help ensure we build back better through inclusive and sustainable growth.

“Ensuring the CBI is seen as a home for entrepreneurs and SMEs is first among my top four priorities during my time as President. Secondly, establishing the UK as a trading powerhouse, which is vital for our future prosperity. Thirdly, I will use my background in higher education to champion the UK’s unique soft power offer. And last but by no means least is the importance of acting to increase inclusive workplaces. Diversity drives better decisions. And it will be my aim to get better Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) representation in boardrooms across the country.”

On Lord Bilimoria’s election as President, Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

“We’re delighted Lord Bilimoria has been elected as CBI President. His experience, global outlook and tenacity will prove invaluable to the CBI and the UK business community.”

On the conclusion of John Allan’s term of office as President, Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said:

“The CBI has benefitted greatly from John’s many years of experience and understanding across many sectors of our economy. And we are lucky he is remaining as Vice-President so we can continue to draw upon his wise counsel given the scale of the task facing businesses rebuilding after COVID-19.”

16 June 2020

Notes to Editors:

The CBI wrote to the Prime Minister last week outlining priorities for a jobs-rich recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Read the letter in full here.

Historically, at the AGM, the current CBI Vice-President has proceeded to stand for election to the role of CBI President and the outgoing President has stood for a final one-year term as Vice-President. It is a practice replicated across the UK within the CBI’s Regional and National Council structure to ensure good governance and continuity. The CBI President usually stands for a total of two, one-year terms (elected at each year’s AGM) with a third term being possible.

All CBI members are invited to attend the AGM and vote on the resolutions presented. This year’s AGM was held virtually. 103 members voted on the resolutions, with Lord Bilimoria gaining 98% in favour to become CBI President.

About the CBI:

Across the UK, the CBI speaks on behalf of 190,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors. The CBI’s corporate members together employ nearly 7 million people, about one third of private sector-employees. With offices in the UK as well as representation in Brussels, Washington, Beijing and Delhi, the CBI communicates the British business voice around the world.

Media Contact:

The CBI Press Office is available 24 hours a day on 0207 395 8239, or email: press.office@cbi.org.uk. Follow the CBI (@CBItweets) and CBI Economics (@CBI_Economics).


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