Speakers Fellows Forum - Manchester

John Foster

John is CBI Director of Campaigns

John leads on the CBI’s political engagement, policy coordination and the organisation’s work on the EU negotiations and Value of Business campaign.

John joined the CBI in August 2015 as the Head of the CBI’s flagship campaign on public trust, the Great Business Debate before moving to become the CBI’s Head of Campaigns in June 2016.

Prior to joining the CBI, John worked as a Special Adviser in the Coalition Government, including as Director of Policy Implementation and Innovation for the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, as well as in the Treasury as a Special Adviser to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Sir Danny Alexander.

Felicity Burch

Felicity is CBI Director of Innovation and Digital

Felicity leads the organisation’s policy work to create the conditions that enable businesses to come up with new ideas, invest in research and development (R&D) and adopt new technologies.

Prior to taking her current role, she spent two years as the Head of Innovation and Digital, where she led the CBI’s successful campaign for the government to commit to a target for R&D expenditure, as well as agenda-setting work on technology adoption. Felicity’s first role at the CBI was as the Principal Policy Adviser on labour markets, where she was responsible for the CBI’s agenda on pay and the future of work.

Felicity’s background is in Economic Policy, focused on business growth. Before the CBI, she was Senior Economist at EEF, the manufacturers' organisation. In this role she led the development of their innovation policy and industrial strategy work and delivered a breadth of economic and industrial trends research. She has also worked on Experian's Economic Policy team, with a focus on regional growth.

Maxine Bligh

Maxine is CBI Leadership Programmes Director

Maxine has worked on the Leadership Programmes since their inception in 2012 and leads on setting the strategic direction of the programmes, the content and structure of their delivery, and on growing the CBI’s leadership development brand.

In her eight years at the CBI she has worked in a range of policy and commercial roles. Previously leading the CBI’s thought leadership project on raising ambition for all in schools and managing a portfolio of key CBI members in the FMCG sector.

Prior to joining the CBI Maxine was a consultant at SQW Manchester focussing on evaluation and economic impact of policy projects.

Maxine has a BA in Politics and an MA in Post-Conflict Reconstruction from York University.

Anna Leach

Anna is CBI Head of Economic Intelligence.

Anna leads the organisation’s economic intelligence team, helping companies understand trends and the outlook in UK and global markets via the CBI’s global macroeconomic forecast and the our highly regarded business surveys.

She is also a member of the UK2070 commission, which is exploring regional inequalities in the UK, and is on the advisory board for the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence, which looks at measuring the modern economy. She has been at the CBI for 10 years and has been a professional economist for nearly 20 years, having worked previously in the government economic service.

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