Farewell to our chair, after three and a half formidable years at the helm
29 June 2018
This week we say a formal farewell to John Allan, who has served as London First’s Chairman with formidable spirit since December 2014.
John has been committed to serving the wider interests of London at a time when others would have shrunk from the responsibility. Having accepted this challenge he was then asked to step up and chair the Tesco board at a critical time for that business. He could well have been forgiven for declining at the 11th hour but, far from that, John threw himself into making a difference and always found time for the major causes London First espoused.
Whether it was Let Britain Fly, the coalition campaign that ultimately secured Heathrow’s much needed 3rd runway, or getting Londoners out in force for the Brexit referendum vote, or most recently leading business to take a much-needed step-up on skills as Chair of our Skills Commission.
Making the case for London, and indeed for business, has become a mighty challenge during the last three years, but John is widely recognised as having risen to this challenge with his unique ability to wield considerable clout with self-effacing humour and a willingness to do what it takes — including countless meetings with politicians and civil servants or working sessions with business leaders.
John brings all of this, along with deep strategic insight, steering London to be its best at a time when our capital needs to work harder and smarter than ever for the UK. He has convened and championed to truly shape the future of London for its businesses, and for its citizens — with more and better homes, improved transport links, and world class talent. Just this week a recent survey again showed London at the top of the global charts.
John can feel proud he has helped keep our capital open to the world, open for business, and continuing to deliver for the whole of the UK. Whilst it may be farewell as London First chairman, I look forward to a new chapter in our working relationship, as John joins our national ally, the CBI.
John leaves us with these closing words:“After an unprecedented, challenging but exhilarating three and a half years for our capital, the summer business lunch marks my final formal engagement as Chairman of London First. I step down from the role in July, but will of course be keeping a direct line open to London First, a valuable ally as I take on my next challenge at the CBI.”
Our Summer Business Lunch was the perfect conclusion to John’s chairmanship. In a room of over 100 business leaders from across the capital, and key stakeholders from across the UK, the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury reiterated the message that’s core to our mission. London’s success and the success of other cities across the UK are not mutually exclusive – we all need to need to work together to grow beyond Brexit.
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