Digby Jones was born into business. Some of his earliest memories are of life in a busy corner shop where he lived with his parents and sister. He discovered the importance of good customer care at an early age and the concept of profit and loss, the very essence of good business management became an everyday reality for the young boy. And when, in the mid-sixties, the supermarkets began to move to the area, he also learned about the vulnerability of business.
Digby Jones spent the first 20 years of his professional career with Edge & Ellison, a Birmingham-based firm of lawyers, where he worked his way up from Articled Clerk to Senior Partner. During these years he was intimately involved in all aspects of business from running the firm “as a business” to recruiting and managing several hundred employees. It was here that he developed a vision of business and its role in society, and began to believe firmly in socially inclusive wealth creation.
In 2000 he joined the CBI and was able to put some of these ideas into action. He campaigned relentlessly on a range of issues including the move from traditional manufacturing of commodities to value-added, innovative products and services.
In 2005 he was knighted for his services to business and became Sir Digby Jones in the Queen's New Years Honours List.
When he left the CBI in 2006 Digby spent the next 12 months in the private sector as advisor to Deloitte and Barclays Capital, held a variety of non-executive board roles, and was the unpaid UK Skills Envoy. In this role he became outraged about the levels of adult illiteracy and innumeracy in the UK, and made the point that we cannot hope to have a safer and healthier society if people lack self-respect or aspiration.
In July 2007 he was appointed Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment and became a life peer. Forthright and, as ever, loyal to British business he spent the next 15 months “doing it in a different way”. He did not join the party of government and without the ambition to progress in politics he concentrated on the business of promoting Britain across the world, travelling to 31 countries in 45 overseas visits.
Now, in addition to his role as an active crossbencher in the House of Lords he serves as Chairman of Triumph Motorcycles Limited, Non-Executive Deputy Chairman of the Unipart Expert Practices Division, Corporate Ambassador fto Aon Risk Solutions, Senior Advisor of Babcock International Group plc, Chairman of Grove Industries, Non-Executive Chairman of Thatchers Cider Ltd, Corporate Advisor to JCB, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Argentex LLP, Chairman of Cell Therapy Ltd, Chairman of On-Logistics Ltd, Non-Executive Director of Leicester Tigers plc, Senior Adviser to Barberry Developments Ltd, Corporate Ambassador to Ravenscroft Securities of Guernsey, Chairman of the Governors of Stratford-upon-Avon College, Non-Executive Chairman of G-Labs Limited.
He advises in a number of other paid and unpaid roles, fulfilling his vision of promoting socially inclusive wealth creation. Lord Digby Jones travels regularly across the UK and overseas, runs his own business and his fulfilment is complete when Leicester Tigers and Aston Villa win their matches. He has many plans for the decades to come.