News story

Lord Robert Smith named new chairman of the British Business Bank

Business Minister announces the appointment of new British Business Bank Chair.


Business Minister Margot James has today (21 April 2017) announced the appointment of the Lord Smith of Kelvin as the new non-executive chairman of the British Business Bank.

Lord Robert Smith joins the UK’s national development bank for businesses with over 20 years of chairman experience, most recently as Chair of the Green Investment Bank and of the Scotland Devolution Commission. Lord Smith would begin the role following the successful completion of the sale of the Green Investment Bank, officially taking over from interim Chair, Christina McComb.

Business Minister Margot James said:

With a wealth of knowledge and experience of venture and development capital, I am pleased to be announcing that Lord Robert Smith is joining the British Business Bank.

The British Business Bank plays a crucial role in helping the UK’s 5.5 million small businesses access the finance they need, which will be a great match with Lord Robert Smith’s evident passion for, and background in, supporting the UK’s start-ups and small businesses. I would also like to pay thanks to Christina McComb who has acted as interim Chair for the Bank during the search for a new Chair.

The British Business Bank manages government’s access to finance programmes for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), ensuring finance markets work for smaller businesses, allowing them to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.

The government’s Industrial Strategy is committed to further improving access to finance across the country, with a £400 million government investment into the bank announced in the government’s autumn statement in 2016. This is expected to attract £1 billion of private sector equity finance, to help small businesses access the capital they need to scale-up.

Keith Morgan, CEO of the British Business Bank, said:

We are pleased Lord Smith will become our new Chairman. Lord Smith’s impressive track record of leadership and his depth of experience will be invaluable to the Bank as it enters a new period of growth and development.

Interim Chair Christina McComb took up the position after the inaugural Chairman Ron Emerson stepped down in September 2016. The British Business Bank is currently supporting more than 54,000 businesses, working with over 90 finance partners. Its programmes support over £3.4 billion of finance to UK smaller businesses and participate in a further £5.1 billion of finance to UK small mid-cap businesses.

Published 21 April 2017