New South West CBI chair says it can “act as agent of positive change” as region emerges from pandemic

March 30, 2021

National business group the CBI has appointed Adrian Bratt, the General Counsel of luxury motorboat manufacturer Princess Yachts, as the next chair of its South West region.

Adrian, pictured, who is also a board director at the Plymouth-based firm, takes over from Pennon chief executive Susan Davy, who has held the role since 2018. 

CBI regional chairs represent members in discussions with the government, local mayors, councils and policy makers.

They also chair the CBI South West Council, which forms part of the CBI’s national policy-making committee, signing off all the CBI’s public policy positions.

The council has 50 members representing a wide range of businesses across the region including Bristol firms Airbus, Moon Consulting, Bristol Airport and Bristol Water.

Adrian, who will be chair for the next two years, is a governance specialist and commercial lawyer by trade. He joined Princess Yachts in 2017 after operating a national private practice specialising in the manufacturing, retail and energy sectors on behalf of national and multinational firms.

A former Royal Navy officer, he has been a member of the CBI South West Council since 2017, while also sitting on the Plymouth Growth Board and the Maritime Enterprise Working Group.

He said: “The South West is a region of talent, ingenuity and enterprise which can wield great influence when it speaks with one voice. I look forward to helping to amplify that voice to support a post-Covid recovery and evolve the levelling-up agenda.

“Throughout the Covid crisis, the CBI has led the way in terms of working with business, government and trade unions to support companies. 

“We must continue to act as an agent of positive change as the focus shifts beyond the pandemic towards future investment in skills and sustainability to help the South West lead the way in the race to net zero.”

Outgoing chair Susan Davy, pictured, said it had been an enormous privilege to be CBI South West chair, representing business in the region and through more recent challenging times as businesses coped with Brexit negotiations, political instability, and the pandemic.

“Despite the challenges of the past few years, I believe that our renewed focus on unlocking the productivity and potential of the region together with making the South West’s voice heard, will bring tangible benefits to companies,” she said.

“The South West is uniquely placed to benefit from a green recovery and move to net-zero, helping companies to create new high-skilled jobs and generate prosperity.

“My sincere congratulations to Adrian as the new chair. I know he’s passionate about the success of the South West.”

CBI South West acting director Ben Rhodes said Susan’s tenure included a general election, Brexit and a global pandemic, yet she had provided stability and thoughtful leadership throughout.

“Her commitment to the environmental agenda has also delivered a new focus on the many opportunities for the South West to lead the UK in the race to net zero. We are thrilled to retain Susan’s skills and leadership as she supports Adrian as Vice-chair,” he added.

“We are now delighted to have the opportunity to work with Adrian as South West chair during what will be a vitally important period for the region.

“As we emerge from the devasting impacts of the pandemic and look to focus on recovery, Adrian’s knowledge of business, investors and international markets will be an invaluable asset to the CBI and businesses across the South West.”

The CBI speaks on behalf of 190,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors across the UK employing nearly 7m people – about a third of private sector-employees. It does not release regional membership numbers.

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