Irish Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, to headline CBI’s annual conference

The CBI has unveiled the line-up for its flagship annual conference which includes Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the UK’s most influential political and business leaders.

This year’s conference theme is ‘Global Ambition: Britain Means Business. As the CBI celebrates its 50th year of championing British business, the conference will look at how the UK economy can remain resilient in the face of more turbulent global growth.

The conference will take place on Monday 9 November 2015 at Grosvenor House, Park Lane in London, supported by strategic partner, EY, the professional service providers, and recruiting expert, Hays.

John Cridland, CBI director-general, said: “This year’s CBI Conference will shine a spotlight on some of the key issues affecting British businesses. Disruptive innovation, how we can develop talent in our education system and Britain’s place in the world.

“It’s crucial that the UK remains resilient by pursuing the right policies and securing the right business conditions; to deliver jobs, open new markets, boost exports and fulfil our global ambitions.”

Steve Varley, EY’s chairman and managing partner, UK & Ireland said: “If the UK is to achieve its ambition of becoming a global export powerhouse, one of the most important factors in achieving this will be agility. Being able to identify and respond quickly to growth opportunities will provide the key to export success.

“The CBI conference will make an important contribution to the debate of improving Britain’s export position and I am looking forward to the top line up of speakers.”

In his last conference speech at the helm of the CBI, Cridland will set the scene for the day and share his vision for business and the economy.

This will be followed by a line-up of senior political figures including Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny and a senior UK Cabinet Minister.

The ‘Disruptive Innovation’ interview series will dominate the morning as we explore how the popularity of digital platforms have changed the way we do business and how well established brands have responded to the challenge. With Jo Bertram, regional general manager, UKI & Nordics, Uber; Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO, Virgin Money; Moya Greene, chief executive, Royal Mail; Andy Harrison, CEO, Whitbread; James McClure, general manager, UK & Ireland, Airbnb; Christopher North, managing director, Ltd and the BBC’s Evan Davis in the interview chair, it promises to be a lively session.

In his first address to the CBI’s Annual Conference, president Paul Drechsler will share his thoughts on the key business issues of the moment and the key ingredients for UK businesses to succeed globally.

After lunch, delegates will hear from Claire Williams, deputy team principal, Williams, about one of the UK’s most successful exports – Formula 1. This session, chaired by Sky Sports presenter David Croft, will showcase an industry that is blazing a trail in 2015 by employing the latest technology, engineering excellence and creative design to gain a competitive edge and thrill its audience.

Tesco CEO Dave Lewis and Sky News Business Presenter Ian King will explore the challenges and opportunities within the retail industry, and how businesses are changing to meet the needs of Britain’s shoppers today.

ITV business editor, Joel Hills, will be next up hosting a quick fire ‘Raising Ambition for All’ session with leaders helping to harness Britain’s talent from a diverse range of backgrounds.  Miriam González-Durántez, partner, Dechert LLP and founder, Inspiring Women Campaign; Juergen Maier, chief executive, Siemens plc; Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities; Maggie Stilwell, UKI managing partner for Talent, EY and Karl Tucker, joint managing director, Yeo Valley Farms (Production) Ltd will explore how we can build a competitive economy through developing talent in our education system and beyond.