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Lord Digby Jones

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Lord Digby Jones

The 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, England
Political party Crossbench
Spouse(s) Patricia
Alma mater University College London
Profession Businessman

Digby Marritt Jones, Baron Jones of Birmingham, Kt. (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 Senior Advisor to ShP Limited.

Education and law career

Born in Birmingham, Jones was educated at Bromsgrove School where he was Head Boy, and read Law at University College London under a University Cadetship from the Royal Navy, 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

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

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 an MP or peer 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 did not subsequently join the Labour Party. He was invested 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. He styles himself Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham and sits as a Crossbencher in the Lords.

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.[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

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]

He is a Non Executive Director of Unipart Expert Practices (UEP) Division.

In November 2006, Jones was appointed "Business Adviser" to 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

Lord Jones is a Fellow of Birmingham Business School International Advisory Board.

View on unions

Media appearances

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:


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.[16]

Personal life

Jones is a supporter of Aston Villa FC.[17]

Styles and honours

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


External links

  • CBI annual report & accounts, 2007
  • Minimum wage rates ePolitix
  • CBI urges caution on minimum wage ePolitix
  • Lord Jones of Birmingham on
  • Birmingham Business School
  • Digby Jones speaker profile London Speaker bureau
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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