CBI picks director general from outside M25

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The Independent Online

The new director general of the Confederation of British Industry, Digby Jones, yesterday pledged to make the organisation more representative of small business and the regions, while maintaining its broadly pro-euro stance.

The new director general of the Confederation of British Industry, Digby Jones, yesterday pledged to make the organisation more representative of small business and the regions, while maintaining its broadly pro-euro stance.

Mr Jones, vice-chairman of corporate finance at KPMG and chairman of the CBI's West Midlands region, takes over the £250,000-a-year post from Adair Turner on 1 January for a five-year term.

Selected from a shortlist of five, which included one women, Mr Jones, 44, is taking a "significant pay cut" in his new job. He said the biggest asset he would bring to the post was the ability to represent all sides of business, helping to combat the perception that the CBI was too metropolitan and too interested in big business.

Although that was not the case in reality, the organisation needed to do more to appeal to the regions and small and medium sized enterprises, he added. A lawyer by training, Mr Jones described his politics as "centre right".

His first appearance before the press yesterday was a polished affair. Mr Jones refused to be drawn on whether the CBI needed to become more confrontational in its dealings with the Government. "As director general I am not going to pick a fight with anyone just to grandstand," he said. Referring to the fact that all three of his predecessors had been McKinsey men, Mr Jones said the CBI had broken with tradition in appointing someone who had never worked for the management consultancy and came from outside London.

Sir Clive Thompson, president of the CBI, denied that the appointment of a serving regional chairman indicated a shortage of high quality candidates. Sir Clive said the CBI had received "literally hundreds of applications, including some from aspiring politicians, serving politicians and past politicians. We also got some good candidates."

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