Mayor unveils panel of experts to advise on Brexit talks

19 December 2016

Sadiq Khan today unveiled his new panel of business leaders, investors and academics who will advise him on the risks, challenges and opportunities for London following the vote to leave the European Union.

Ranging across London’s key economic sectors, members of the panel include Sir George Iacobescu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Canary Wharf Group, Sherry Coutu, Executive Chair of Scaleup Institute, and the former European Trade Commissioner Lord Mandelson.

They will be joined by Baroness Vadera, chair of Santander UK, Xavier Rolet, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Group, and Julia Onslow-Cole, Partner, Legal Markets Leader and Head of Global Immigration at PwC.

The Mayor said: "This expert group of advisors will allow me to tap into some of our top business minds as negotiations progress."

Since the referendum result in June, Sadiq has been working with business to ensure their needs are met during the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. 

His new Brexit Expert Advisory Panel will provide on-call advice and guidance to the Mayor. It includes leaders from sectors including financial services, technology, science and the media.

The Mayor is holding a series of monthly face-to-face meetings with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis MP. As these meetings progress, the Brexit Expert Advisory Panel will provide insight and expertise to the Mayor as he pushes for a proper, sensible solution to the complicated challenge of leaving the European Union in a way that protects London and the UK’s economy.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I have promised to be most pro-business Mayor that London has ever had – and now I’m delivering on that promise. For the last six months, I have been speaking to businesses of all shapes and sizes about what they need from the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

“We need to strike a deal that safeguards London’s position as the best city in the world to do business and this expert group of advisors will allow me to tap into some of our top business minds as negotiations progress.

“Securing privileged access to the single market, maintaining a world-class financial sector and ensuring London can continue to attract global talent are all recurring themes from my conversations with business – and I look forward to working with this panel as we aim to strike a deal that works for the capital.”

Panel member and City of London policy chairman Mark Boleat said: “London’s success is based on the incredible number of interconnected businesses and sectors that support each other. If one sector suffers, the knock-on effects to London’s whole economy could be substantial. The Mayor understands this and I’m pleased he’ll be using his meetings with David Davis to ensure that Government understands this as well.”

Fellow Panel member Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London, said: “London is a global innovation powerhouse, but we should be ambitious to do more. It is vital that the capital has access to the talent and market conditions needed to create the jobs, prosperity and discoveries that will improve the lives of all Londoners. I look forward to working with the Mayor and this expert group to develop pragmatic proposals to make Brexit work.”

Vanessa Kingori, Publisher of British GQ, said: “London’s creative, media and retail businesses have achieved amazing global success and I look forward to working with the Mayor to ensure this continues.”

Sherry Coutu, Executive Chair of the Scaleup Institute, said: “I’m confident London can continue to be the digital capital of Europe and I am honoured to be working with the Mayor to ensure tech businesses maintain access to the talent, funding and markets they need to scale up.”

Notes to editors

Members of the Board are not paid for their roles.


Sir George Iacobescu
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, the Canary Wharf Group

Sir George Iacobescu CBE is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canary Wharf Group, a company with assets of approximately £7.8 billion. Sir George was knighted in 2012 for services to charity, the community and the financial services industry in the New Year Honours list. He was appointed Commander of the British Empire in 2003 for services to regeneration and inward investment. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration from the University of East London.


Xavier Rolet
Chief Executive, the London Stock Exchange Group

Xavier was appointed to the Board of the London Stock Exchange Group in March 2009 and appointed Chief Executive in May 2009. Prior to this, Xavier was CEO of Lehman Brothers in France from 2007 to 2009. He became a member of Lehman Brothers’ European Operating Committee in 2003, having joined the firm in 2000 in New York as co-head of Global Equity Trading. He is also a member of the Financial Services Trade and Investment Board at HM Treasury.


Julia Onslow-Cole
Partner, Legal Markets Leader and Head of Global Immigration, PwC

Julia is the Legal Markets Leader and Head of Global Immigration at PwC, which has immigration practices in 154 countries. She has more than 25 years of experience in providing specialist immigration advice and is ranked a number one practitioner in several legal directories. She is a key expert on PwC’s Brexit Taskforce and has been liaising with Government and Business following the referendum. Julia and has advised several government on citizenship by investment programmes.


Professor Alice Gast
President, Imperial College London

Professor Alice Gast became President of Imperial College London in September 2014. Imperial is one of the world’s top ten universities, with 4,000 students and 2,000 staff from European countries. Prior to her appointment at Imperial, Professor Gast was the 13th President of Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, USA, from 2006 to 2014. She was made a United States Science Envoy to the Caucasus and Central Asia in 2010. In 2012, she was appointed to the board of directors of Chevron Corporation.


Baroness Vadera
Chair, Santander UK

Shriti Vadera is Chairman of Santander UK, Senior Independent Director of BHP Billiton and Non-Executive Director of AstraZeneca. She is currently chairing the European Financial Services Chairmen’s Advisory Committee which acts as a senior sounding board for Ministers during the EU exit negotiations. Between 2007 and 2009 she was a minister in the Cabinet Office, the Business Department and the International Development Department. She led government’s response to the financial crisis, was an architect of its pioneering bank recapitalisation and funding plan in 2008, and helped design and negotiate the outcome of the G20 London Summit in 2009.


Catherine Dixon
Chief Executive, the Law Society

Catherine Dixon is chief executive of the Law Society of England and Wales. Prior to this, she was the chief executive of the NHS litigation authority which indemnifies the NHS against legal claims and supports learning and improved patient safety across the NHS. Previously she was the Commercial Director of BUPA care services and NSPCC General Counsel and Company Secretary and spent time working in Canada. She is a solicitor and mediator and is the trustee of a number of charities including the PDSA and LawWorks.


Lord Mandelson              
Former European Commissioner

Peter Mandelson is a former European Trade Commissioner and British First Secretary of State. As EU Trade Commissioner between 2004 and 2008, he negotiated trade agreements with many countries and led European negotiations in the WTO Doha World Trade Round. Prior to this, he was Minister without Portfolio, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Northern Ireland Secretary and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in the British government between 1997 and 2010, as well as MP for Hartlepool from 1992 until 2004. Last year he became President of the Great Britain China Centre, a non-departmental public body encourages dialogue and collaboration between Britain and China. He is also President of the Policy Network think tank and Senior Adviser to Lazard.


Mark Boleat
Chairman, the City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee

Mark Boleat has been Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee of the City of London Corporation since 2012.  Mark is also Deputy Chairman of TheCityUK and the International Regulatory Strategy Group. He leads the City’s work on Brexit and is also a member of TheCityUK’s Brexit Steering Group and the European Financial Services Chairman’s Advisory Committee. Mark is also a Vice Chairman of London Councils, a member of the boards of Central London Forward (a grouping of eight inner London local authorities) and of London and Partners, the promotional body for London.


Sir Harpal Kumar
Chief Executive, Cancer Research UK                                                                                    

Harpal Kumar was appointed Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK in 2007, following three years as Chief Operating Officer and five years as Chief Executive of Cancer Research Technology Limited. Harpal was Chair of the Taskforce and author of ‘Achieving World-Class Cancer Outcomes: A Strategy for England 2015-2020’, published in summer 2015. He is a trustee of the Francis Crick Institute in London and chairs the National Cancer Advisory Group. He was knighted in 2016 for services to cancer research.


Vanessa Kingori
Publisher, British GQ

In 2015 Vanessa Kingori MBE was appointed Publisher of British GQ magazine and the wider GQ brand – the first female head of the brand, Conde Nast UK’s youngest serving publisher and the first black publisher in its 100-year history. She has a keen interest in youth development and in her role as Visiting Fellow at the University of the Arts London Vanessa supports students through panel discussions, project evaluations and mentoring. Vanessa has sat on the judging Panel of the Black British Business Awards since 2015 with a personal emphasis on rising stars and businesses focused on the arts and media.


Victoria Quinlan
Chief Operating Officer, Lendlease Europe

Victoria has had a successful and extensive career, with experience in finance, strategy, investment and operations. Over the past 14 years she has driven numerous operational initiatives and the financial and commercial elements of Lendlease’s development business in the residential, commercial and retail sectors. Victoria was responsible for leading the integration of Bovis into the wider Lendlease brand when the two companies geographically merged. She has extensive experience in forming and executing business strategies in multiple disciplines across the property sector.


Geoffrey Spence
Head of Global Infrastructure, Lloyds Bank

This year Geoffrey Spence was appointed Global Head of Infrastructure, Resources and Energy at Lloyds Banking Group. Previously, he was the Chief Executive of Infrastructure UK – a unit within HM Treasury's Enterprise and Growth Directorate which supports the delivery of major infrastructure projects where there is capital investment from the public sector (e.g. the delivery of Crossrail, Broadband UK, Smart Meters). He was also the lead Corporate Finance Practitioner in the Treasury. He combines an infrastructure finance background with a track-record of delivering at the heart of Whitehall. Geoffrey worked in investment banking for 25 years, latterly at Deutsche Bank and HSBC.


Sherry Coutu
Executive Chair, Scaleup Institute            

Sherry Coutu is a former CEO and angel investor who serves on the boards of companies, charities and universities. She chairs Founders4Schools  and The Scale-up Institute and is a non-executive member of Cambridge University (Finance Board), Cambridge Assessment, Cambridge University Press and a NED of Zoopla and the London Stock Exchange Group. She also serves on the Advisory Board of Philanthropically, she supports the Prince's Trust, the Crick Institute and serves on the Harvard Business School European Advisory Council.


Sir John Sorrell
Chairman, Creative Industries Federation

John Sorrell is founder and chairman of the Creative Industries Federation, the independent voice for the UK’s Creative Industries. He has served as a UK Business Ambassador since 2009, appointed by successive Prime Ministers to help promote Britain’s creative industries abroad. John co-founded the Sorrell Foundation in 1999 with the aim of inspiring creativity in young people. He is chairman of University of the Arts London, is co-founder and chairman of the London Design Festival and in 2016 co-founded the London Design Biennale. John co-founded and was chair of Newell and Sorrell, one of Europe’s most successful design and identity businesses, and has chaired the UK Design Council, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment and the Design Business Association. He was appointed CBE in 1996, was awarded the Royal Society of Arts Bicentenary Medal in 1998 and holds numerous Honorary Fellowships and degrees. John was awarded a Knighthood in the 2008 for services to the creative industries.

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