Press release

International Trade Secretary appoints new HM Trade Commissioner for the Middle East

Simon Penney has been appointed as new HM Trade Commissioner for the Middle East.

Liam Fox and Simon Penney
Liam Fox and Simon Penney
  • International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP appoints banker Simon Penney as new HM Trade Commissioner for the Middle East
  • he will oversee trade promotion and investment in the Middle East - raising the profile of the region in the UK and building stronger and deeper trading relationships
  • the announcement came as Dr Fox visited Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to promote £30 billion of investment opportunities and champion British businesses in the Gulf

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP has appointed Simon Penney as Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner (HMTC) for the Middle East.

The announcement was confirmed by Dr Fox on a visit to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he met government and industry representatives to boost trade and promote more than 68 UK projects worth £30 billion to investors.

Simon joins the Department for International Trade (DIT) following a career spent working in the Middle East and Africa, most recently as Head of Wholesale and International Banking at First Gulf Bank. Prior to that he was Middle East & Africa Chief Executive Officer at RBS.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP said:

The addition of Simon to the team is a statement of intent for our Middle East trade ambitions, and another example of the department attracting the very best people from across both private and public life. The knowledge, contacts and business nous he brings will be a boost to all firms looking to do business in the region.

As the UK develops its first independent trade policy in more than 40 years, the opportunity for British firms to trade with markets like the Middle East has never been greater.

DIT Permanent Secretary Antonia Romeo said:

I am delighted to welcome Simon to the Department’s top team in what is another significant appointment transforming our trade and investment business overseas.

Simon has deep links with industry in the region and a proven track record in leadership, and is well-placed to lead a strong and informed service to UK businesses in-market, as well as to Middle Eastern investors looking to invest in the UK.

On joining the Department, the new HM Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, Simon Penney, said:

Having spent a significant part of my career working in the Middle East, I understand the great opportunities the markets present to British business. There is vast appetite for British goods and services in the region and huge numbers of Middle Eastern investors looking to invest in the UK.

The UK’s trade relationship with the region is already strong, but its true potential has not yet been tapped. I look forward to getting back on the ground and making the case for UK PLC.

The appointment makes Simon the sixth HM Trade Commissioner to be announced by the Department and follows the appointment of Trade Commissioners for North America, China, Eastern Europe and Central Asia Network, Latin America and South Asia.

Simon will start in the role this summer.

About HMTCs

All of the new Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioners (HMTCs) will cooperate closely with HM Ambassadors and High Commissioners, the wider diplomatic network, and other HM Government colleagues based in countries in their region, in a joined-up and coordinated Government effort overseas to promote UK trade and prosperity.

In total, there will be 9 geographical areas that the HM Trade Commissioners will cover:

  • Africa
  • Asia-Pacific
  • China
  • Eastern Europe and Central Asia Network
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • North America
  • South Asia

Simon Penney

Simon Penney will be named as the new HM Trade Commissioner for the Middle East. Simon has spent much of his career working overseas, particularly in the Middle East and will bring with him a wealth of knowledge of operating within the region.

He was mostly recently Head of Wholesale and International Banking at the First Gulf Bank and was the Chief Executive Office, Middle East & Africa for the Royal Bank of Scotland prior to that. Simon will be joining the team at the beginning of July.

The appointment is conditional pending satisfactory security checks being completed.

For further information

Contact the DIT Media and Digital Team on 020 7215 2000

Follow us: @tradegovuk, gov.uk/dit

Published 29 May 2018