Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion

Baroness Fairhead CBE


Baroness Fairhead CBE is the Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion at the Department for International Trade (DIT).

As a former Business Ambassador for UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) with a strong background in global business, Baroness Fairhead brings a wealth of business and economic experience to the department.

Rona was chairman of the BBC Trust from 2014 to 2017. Prior to this, she was chairman and CEO of the Financial Times Group from 2006 to 2013. She also led Pearson professional education. She had previously been CFO of Pearson plc from 2002.

Prior to Pearson, Rona held senior executive roles in ICI plc and Bombardier Inc. primarily with Shorts in Northern Ireland. Her early career began in the 1980s with Bain and Company.

In 2012 she received a CBE for Services to Industry.

Rona’s non-executive roles include HSBC Holdings plc from 2004 to 2016 and PepsiCo from 2014 until her ministerial appointment.

In her other public service role, she served as a non-executive director of the UK Cabinet Office.

She is an Honorary Doctor of Teesside University and Queen’s University, Belfast and an Honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge.

Rona was educated in state schools in the north of England before attending St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, graduating with a double first in Law. She later obtained a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Rona is married with 3 children.

Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion

The Minister for Trade and Export Promotion leads on the promotion of UK goods and services aboard including the financial arrangements that ensure UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. The minister’s work to support exports forms a key part of the government’s drive to increase productivity and growth across the country through the new Industrial Strategy.

This includes:

  • policy on export promotion, including increasing productivity and ensuring export promotion aligns with the UK’s new trade policy
  • UK Export Finance (UKEF)
  • UK regional delivery of trade promotion activity
  • the GREAT campaign
  • supporting small to medium sized businesses to export, including via intermediaries
  • strategic relationships with UK exporting companies
  • all of the departmental business in the House of Lords, including leading on the Trade Bill in the House of Lords

DIT ministerial lead for the following sectors:

  • technology and smart cities
  • infrastructure
  • energy
  • healthcare
  • life sciences

Previous roles in government

  1. Non-executive board member

    • 2010 to 2014


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  1. UKEF helps GE Global Services UK secure landmark turbine contract in Iraq

    • Press release
  2. Welsh business visits Downing Street ahead of Small Business Saturday

    • Press release
  3. DIT partners with retailer Newegg to promote British tech brands

    • Press release
  4. Baroness Fairhead to lead British export drive

    • Press release
  5. Government backs British talent with £2.4 million funding for music exports

    • Press release
  6. UK named “Country of Honour” as trade mission heads to flagship Chinese International Industry Fair

    • Press release
  7. Rona Fairhead promotes UK as a leading Western hub for Islamic finance

    • Speech
  8. New £1.3 billion property portfolio to drive investment in Northern Ireland

    • Press release