Digby Jones, Baron Jones of Birmingham: Wikis


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The Lord Jones of Birmingham

In office
29 June 2007 – 3 October 2008
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Ian McCartney
Succeeded by Gareth Thomas

Born 28 October 1955 (1955-10-28) (age 54)
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Birth name Digby Marritt Jones
Political party Crossbench
Spouse(s) Pat
Alma mater University College London
Profession Businessman

Digby Marritt Jones, Baron Jones of Birmingham (born 28 October 1955) is a British businessman and politician. He has served as Director of the CBI (2000–06) and Minister of State for Trade (2007–08). He is a Business Ambassador at UK Trade & Investment and from 2009, chairman of Triumph Motorcycles (Hinckley) ltd.

He also serves as Chairman of the International Business Advisory Board of HSBC and is a Corporate Ambassador for Jaguar Cars and Corporate Advisor to JCB. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Monitise Group plc & Chairman of Neutrino Concepts Ltd.



Born in Birmingham, he was educated at Bromsgrove School where he was Head Boy, and read Law at University College London, where he provided no amusement with his comedy turns at student union meetings, graduating with an upper second class honours.

At the CBI

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.[1] He then went on to act as an advisor to Barclays Capital, Ford, Deloitte and J. C. Bamford (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

On 29 June 2007, Jones became a Minister of State for Trade 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".[2] It was announced he would take up the Labour whip in the House of Lords but he would not be joining the Labour Party. On 10 July 2007 he was created a life peer as Baron Jones of Birmingham, of Alvechurch and of Bromsgrove in the County of Worcestershire,[3] and took his seat in the House of Lords that same day. He styles himself Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham.

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 their official candidate, but soon rejected their proposal.[4]

In April 2008 Lord Jones announced his intention to resign as Minister of Trade later in the year.[5] He resigned in October 2008 and was appointed to be a UK Business Ambassador for UK Trade & Investment.[6] 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.[7]

On January 16, 2009, in a subsequent article in the Daily Telegraph, Lord Jones is described as "the walking personification of the spirit of big business at its corporatist worst".[8]

Other posts

Lord Jones is a Corporate Ambassador for the Cancer Research UK Corporate Ambassadors. He is also a Fellow of UNICEF. 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.

He is also a Vice President of the Friends of the British Library, a charity which provides funding support to the British Library.[9]

He is a Non Executive Director of Leicester Tigers Rugby plc and a fan of Aston Villa FC. 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.

In November 2006, Jones was appointed "Business Adviser" to Prince Andrew, 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 HRH the Duke of York in relation to his work with UK Trade & Investment, but on an unpaid basis.[10][11]


Lord 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 and Loughborough University (2007). He is a visiting professor at the University of Hull Business School and Chairman of the Birmingham Business School International Advisory Board.

View of unions

They are in danger of withering on the vine of irrelevance. They are backward looking and not on today’s agenda.[12]

The trade unions put their members first and not the country. Labour is always in thrall to the unions. People keep banging on about cash for peerages, but the unions have bunged money to the government for years.[12]

Media appearances

Digby Jones was the guest on BBC Radio's Desert Island Discs, broadcast on 21 May 2006.

Styles and honours

  • Mr Digby Jones (1955–2004)
  • Sir Digby Jones (2004–2007)
  • Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham Kt. (2007—)


  1. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57509, p. 1, 31 December 2004. Retrieved on 2009-07-28.
  2. ^ BBC News Online Brown to unveil further changes
  3. ^ London Gazette: no. 58392, p. 10219, 16 July 2007. Retrieved on 2009-07-28.
  4. ^ "Tories in Digby mayor offer spat". BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6277044.stm. Retrieved 2007-09-12.  
  5. ^ Article from Times Online, and article from the Guardian.
  6. ^ Carl Mortishead (October 4, 2008). "Former M&S chairman Paul Myners becomes Minister for the City". London: The Times. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/banking_and_finance/article4878530.ece. Retrieved 2008-10-04.  
  7. ^ Summers, Deborah (16 January 2009). "Brown steps in after Digby Jones calls for half of civil service to be sacked". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jan/16/digby-jones-says-sack-civil-servants.  
  8. ^ Martin, Iain (16 January 2009). "Fire Digby Jones". Daily Telegraph. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/iain_martin/blog/2009/01/16/fire_digby_jones.
  9. ^ "Friends of the British Library Annual Report 2006/07". http://www.bl.uk/supportus/pdf/friendsannrep0607.pdf. Retrieved 2009-09-07.  
  10. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/airmiles-andy-attempts-image-overhaul-437692.html
  11. ^ http://www.thedukeofyork.org/digby.html
  12. ^ a b "Sir Digby rides off with all guns blazing". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/euro/story/0,,1805980,00.html. Retrieved 2007-07-25.  

External links

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


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