Press release

Business Secretary appoints finance experts to Board of new British Business Bank

Vince Cable has today (17 October) confirmed the appointment of Ron Emerson as the first Chair of the government-owned British Business Bank

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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  • Ron Emerson appointed non-executive Chair
  • British Business Bank branding and logo unveiled
  • up to £10 billion of additional business finance to be unlocked

Business Secretary Vince Cable has today (17 October 2013) confirmed the appointment of Ron Emerson as the first Chair of the government-owned British Business Bank.

Ron Emerson will play a crucial role in leading the institution, including the process to appoint a CEO for the institution later this year. He has a strong background in international banking, the SME finance landscape as well as experience in financial regulatory regimes. He is an active member of the faculty at the Said Business School, University of Oxford.

The Business Secretary has also today confirmed that Christina McComb has been appointed as Senior Independent Director. She is a former Chief Executive of C5 Capital Ltd, and is currently senior independent director at Standard Life European Private Equity Trust and several other SMEs and equity investment firms.

The British Business Bank’s purpose is to support economic growth by bringing together public and private sector funds to create more effective and efficient finance markets for small and medium-sized businesses in the UK. The institution will consolidate many of the government’s existing small and medium-sized business finance schemes, as well as an extra £1 billion of funding, which the Chancellor announced at Autumn Statement last year.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

This is an important milestone in the establishment of the British Business Bank. Ron Emerson and Christina McComb bring a powerful combination of business finance and policy experience that will ensure that the bank improves the supply of finance to smaller businesses.

The UK is coming out of the worst recession since the 1930s with a badly damaged banking system. Helping businesses to access the funds they need to grow is key to our recovery. By working closely with the markets, the British Business Bank will help unlock up to £10 billion of additional finance for small and medium sized businesses over the next 5 years. This will help ensure the Business Bank becomes an established feature of the British financial landscape.

Ron Emerson, Chair of the British Business Bank, said:

This is an idea of its time. The UK has long needed a more effective set of financing options for smaller businesses, and the British Business Bank will be a key catalyst in this process.

Good progress has already been made by the department on the existing programmes that will move into the Business Bank. Lending and investment through these programmes is up by 58% in the first half of 2013 compared to the same period last year and we will continue to build on this momentum.

Christine McComb, Senior Independent Director of the British Business Bank said:

I am looking forward to bringing my experience in equity finance and elsewhere to the British Business Bank to make it an effective and powerful institution.

The British Business Bank will play a critical role in improving the access to finance environment in the UK and I am looking forward greatly to playing a role in its development.

The British Business Bank programme is currently operating from within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). These operations will transfer into a public limited company, chaired by Ron Emerson and managed independently of government, once BIS receives EU state aid approval, expected in Autumn 2014.

Marking the first steps in establishing the institution’s identity, the ‘British Business Bank’ branding and marketing strap line ‘Unlocking finance for smaller businesses’ have today been unveiled. A new British Business Bank website will be launched next week.

Since the initiative was first announced a year ago, rapid progress has been made in getting the interim organisation structure established and in increasing the impact of programmes it manages, including:

  • existing smaller business finance programmes have increased their new lending and investment by 58% in the first half of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012
  • on an annualised basis, over £500 million of new financing is now reaching smaller businesses as a result of British Business Bank programmes
  • in total, a stock of £1.3 billion of loans and investments is supported by the British Business Bank programme
  • 8,000 businesses were supported in the year to June 2013.

Further developments over the course of the next 3 months will include:

  • completing the appointment of a permanent CEO
  • the first commitment under the £300 million Investment Programme is expected in the Autumn
  • launch of the first in a series of capital and funding solutions for SME lenders designed to improve the conditions for lending to smaller businesses, subject to regulatory approval.

Notes to editors:

1.The British Business Bank will support economic growth by bringing together public and private sector funds to create more effective and efficient finance markets for small and medium-sized businesses in the UK. The Business Bank is a key element of the government’s Industrial Strategy, and its programme is already contributing to making the UK the best place in Europe to start, grow and finance a business.

The British Business Bank programme is currently run directly by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and is not authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. British Business Bank plc will operate as a government-owned financial institution once HM Government has received European Commission State aid clearance, which is expected in 2014.

2.Ron Emerson has spent the majority of his career in international banking. He has held a number of senior management positions with Bank of America, Nomura Bank International and Standard Chartered Bank, where he was a member of the group management committee and Group Head of Corporate Banking. Since 1996 Ron has divided his time between non-executive directorships, business advisory work and as an active member of the Faculty of Management Studies at Oxford University. As a non-executive he has served on the board of directors of Premier Oil plc, ACE European Group Ltd, Specialist Energy Group plc and House of Habib. He has also acted as a Senior Advisor at the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority. Ron is an Associate Fellow of The Said Business School and Green Templeton College where he has been involved in designing and delivering executive development programmes for senior management, including board members, in the area of leadership and strategic change. Ron has a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Manchester, an MSc in Business Studies from the University of Durham and an M.Litt Research from Oxford University.

3.Christina McComb has held a range of senior private and public sector roles and has a successful track record in private equity and venture capital investment as well as advising small and medium-sized businesses.

Christina is a former director of 3i plc and is currently a Senior Independent Director at Standard Life European Private Equity Trust and a non-executive director of several other investment companies and private companies. She also has high-level public sector experience, having been a founding Director of the Shareholder Executive established by the Cabinet Office and former Department of Trade and Industry. Christina was also previously a member of the Small Business Investment Task Force and the SME Growth Capital Review Panel.

Christina has a BA Hons. from London School of Economics and an MBA from London Business School

4.Both roles are non-executive.

5.On 1 October 2013, Capital for Enterprise Limited’s (‘CfEL’) operations and staff were brought into the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to join the British Business Bank programme. CfEL previously designed, developed and delivered SME financial interventions on behalf of BIS.

6.The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

Published 17 October 2013