Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham Kt.
Digby’s graduation from University College London in 1977 was followed by 20 years with Edge & Ellison, a Birmingham-based firm of lawyers, where he worked his way up from Articled Clerk to Senior Partner. During these years he was intimately involved in all aspects of business from running the firm “as a business” to recruiting and managing several hundred employees. It was here that he developed a vision of business and its role in society, and began to believe firmly in socially inclusive wealth creation. In 2000 he joined the CBI and was able to put some of these ideas into action.
During his six and a half years as Director General he became known in the public arena especially for his candid, forthright attitude in his many media appearances. In 2005 he was knighted for his services to business and became Sir Digby Jones in the Queen’s New Years Honours List. When he left the CBI in 2006 he spent the next 12 months in the private sector as advisor to Deloitte and Barclays Capital, held a variety of non-executive board roles, and was the unpaid UK Skills Envoy. In this role he became outraged about the levels of adult illiteracy and innumeracy in the UK, and made the point that we cannot hope to have a safer and healthier society if people lack self-respect or aspiration. In July 2007 he was appointed Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment and became a life peer taking the title, Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham Kt. Forthright and, as ever, loyal to British business he spent the next 15 months “doing it in a different way”.
He did not join the party of government and without the ambition to progress in politics he concentrated on the business of promoting Britain across the world, travelling to 31 countries in 45 overseas visits. Now, in addition to his role as an active crossbencher in the House of Lords he serves as Chairman of Triumph Motorcycles Limited, Chairman of Grove Industries, a non-executive director of Flybe, Senior Advisor to HSBC and is Corporate Ambassador for Jaguar Cars and JCB. He is an Advisor to Babcock International Group plc and Chairman of the Emergency Services Advisory Board of Babcock International Group plc. He advises in a number of other paid and unpaid roles, fulfilling his vision of promoting socially inclusive wealth creation. Digby travels regularly across the UK and overseas, runs his own business and his fulfilment is complete when Leicester Tigers and Aston Villa win their matches. He has many plans for the decades to come.