Cobra Beer founder Lord Bilimoria has CBI presidency in his sights

Lord Karan Bilimoria

Lord Karan Bilimoria has announced that he will stand for election as the new CBI Vice-President at its AGM on 18 June 2019.

Paul Drechsler CBE will step down on that date as his term as Vice President comes to an end.

Lord Bilimoria is one of the country’s leading entrepreneurs. He founded Cobra Beer in 1989 – and remains its Chairman to this day – and was also founding Chairman on the UK-India Business Council.  A former Chancellor of Thames Valley University (now the University of West London); he was the youngest University Chancellor in the UK when appointed. In 2014, he was appointed as the 7th Chancellor of the University of Birmingham.

He is also Chair of the University of Cambridge Judge Business School Advisory Board. Lord Bilimoria has been an Independent Crossbench Peer for 13 years.

Historically, an incoming Vice-President has proceeded to stand for the role of CBI President and the outgoing President has stood for a final one-year term as Vice-President. It is a practice that is replicated across the UK within the CBI’s Regional Council structure.

On Lord Bilimoria’s nomination, Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: “We’re delighted that Lord Bilimoria has been nominated to stand for election as CBI Vice-President. Lord Bilamoria has had a remarkable career in British business, during which he has built a deep understanding what it takes to build a successful company. At such a critical time for the country, Lord Bilimoria’s wealth of experience will prove invaluable to the CBI and the UK business community.”

Fairbairn also spoke about Paul Drechsler’s term of office saying: “Paul has been an extraordinarily passionate ambassador for British business in his role as CBI President and Vice-President. He has ensured the business voice has been heard loud and clear during a vital period for our economy, and with unsurpassed integrity. He steps down after four exceptional years with the warmest of thanks from the CBI and its members.”

John Allan, CBI President added: “Paul will leave big shoes to fill as an unswerving champion for British business over recent years at home and overseas. During a period of such uncertainty, he has shown admirable resolve in best representing our members across the UK and urging our politicians to put evidence before ideology.

“After a rigorous recruitment process, we are delighted that Lord Bilimoria will be standing for election as Vice-President. He will bring his own energy, insight and political nous to the role and we all look forward to working closely with him.”

The CBI Board and CBI Chairs’ Committee unanimously supported the nomination. In line with the CBI’s Royal Charter, Lord Bilimoria’s nomination will now go forward to the CBI’s AGM which all CBI members are invited to attend and are eligible to vote on the appointment.