Financial News

  • 1 May 2014, 11:47

UAE Ambassador To Head Trade Promotion Body

The Foreign Office mandarin who led the UK's response to the devastating Asian tsunami in 2005 is to be named as the head of the Government's trade promotion agency.

Sky News has learnt that Dominic Jermey, the current British ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, has seen off rival candidates to become the new chief executive of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).

A statement confirming Mr Jermey's appointment is expected to be made on Thursday, according to Whitehall sources.

Mr Jermey will take over the role from Nick Baird, who resigned late last year to join Centrica, the owner of British Gas.

In addition to his ambassador role in the Middle East, Mr Jermey previously served as UKTI's acting chief executive in 2009; as the head of peacekeeping at the Foreign Office; and as deputy ambassador in Madrid.

He has also worked in the City, including at Schroders during the early 1990s, which may help to counter a widespread perception that too few of those involved in the UK's trade promotion efforts possess broader business experience.

His arrival will come at a crucial time for UKTI, with ministers determined to bolster Britain's export efforts amid sporadic criticism of the agency's performance.

In last month's Budget, George Osborne, the Chancellor, announced additional funding for UK Export Finance, which provides credit to British exporters.

However, economists expect the Government to miss its target of doubling the UK's annual exports to 1trn by 2020, with the Office of Budget Responsibility forecasting that export growth will average just under 5% until the end of the decade.

Mr Jermey's arrival at UKTI will come just months after that of Lord Livingston, the former BT Group chief executive, as the minister for trade and investment.

Lord Livingston replaced Lord Green, the former chairman of HSBC, who stepped down after three years in the role.

During a trip to Brazil earlier this month, Mr Osborne announced that UKTI would invest 4m annually to triple the number of medium-sized business advisers in order to support the export ambitions of 3,000 companies.

A UKTI spokesman declined to comment on Wednesday.

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