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David steers enterprising new course

The new East Midlands director of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has swapped a naval career for a job giving a voice to business.

Commander David Shutts OBE, a senior naval officer with an engineering background, was recently appointed as East Midlands director of the CBI, which represents major companies.

He has replaced Lucy Haynes, who has become CBI director of member relations for the South-East.

David says that his years in shipyards brought him close to business so he knows the demands and how it thinks.

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Towards the end of his time at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, he had a period briefing politicians and others about the precise role of the Royal Navy, what it did and the issues facing the service.

He said: "Business is what makes the world go round, it is intriguing, personality-driven. Making a product, how to market and sell it, taking an idea into a commercial world, whether a small or large CBI member is a fascinating process."

He has identified challenges faced by businesses, including a skills shortage: "The East Midlands is dynamic, eclectic and diverse although there is no obvious regional identity. I think the CBI can help facilitate bringing together all the business organisations and provide a national perspective, giving a national voice to the region."

With a general election looming, David says a little over one in three of his members acknowledge the outcome will have a direct bearing on their businesses. They are largely in the education sector, so some of the policy announcements will have a bearing," he explained.

"The others will just see what happens and then get on with it. Obviously, using the CBI to support them as required to ensure that the East Midlands business voice is heard in central government.

"The business organisation recently set out an action plan for the first 100 days of the new government, whoever is in power, with a focus on staying on top of the public finances and calling on politicians to not duck the big challenges to keep economic growth on track"

And that is the key strength of the CBI, its members have a voice nationally, said David. Exporting members have seen the value of the Euro plummet against the pound, making the export of goods and services from the East Midlands significantly more expensive. Sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU are also hitting the sale of goods.

"It is causing worries among our members with European markets less buoyant than they were. Exports are more challenging.''

Read more in the May edition of The Business monthly magazine, which will be published in the Nottingham Post on Tuesday, April 28.

Source: Nottingham Post

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