New non-exec leader for BIS

Posted on 16 Dec 2010 by The Manufacturer

Business Secretary Vince Cable has today announced the appointment of Andrew Witty as the lead non-executive board member at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

Andrew Witty, the chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), will take up his position on the new departmental Board from 1 January 2011. Focussing on department performance and delivery the board will direct the strategic and operational activity at BIS.

All members of the new non-executive board will be drawn from outside government and will assist in the delivery of policy with advice and experience from industry. The formation of this board will go some way towards addressing the long identified dearth of industry experience in government circles and should ensure that the delivery of policy is more sensitive to the real operational environments of different sectors.

Vince Cable commented on Witty’s appointment: “I’ve always said that I want Britain to be open for business and for BIS to be the Department for growth. Andrew’s wealth of experience in business will be invaluable to making sure that that’s exactly what happens. Andrew’s perspective on what works for businesses and the implications that policies will have on them will be a useful litmus test for our policy makers to see what will happen on the ground before we take a specific course of action.“

Witty became CEO of GSK in 2008 after more than 20 years service with the company in a variety of roles, many of which have included key product development projects for the treatment of infectious diseases and HIV. Witty’s roles with GSK have allowed him to work in industry environments around the globe including time spent in South Africa the US and Singapore.

This range of experience gives Witty a clear perspective on global business and competitive interests while additional time spent in government advisory roles in countries like South Africa and Singapore make him ideally qualified to fulfil this important industry-government liaison role in the UK. Speaking of his own selection as lead non-executive for BIS Witty says: “I am delighted to have been asked to take on this role. I look forward to working with BIS and the Secretary of State to build on the UK economy’s many strengths to deliver long term sustainable economic growth.”

Acutely aware of the competitive sensibilities of business and industry Witty has decline monetary remuneration for his work with BIS and has also exempt himself from viewing papers or contributing to discussions around the pharmaceutical industry which might result in a conflict of interest.

The key responsibilities of the new BIS non-executive board will be; to give advice on the operational/delivery implications of policy proposals, to provide independent support and guidance on the progress and implementation of policy, to provide management advice to the Permanent Secretary, to be available to advise Ministers on operational issues and performance, to form a Risk and Audit Committee, to be involved in the recruitment and appraisal of senior executives and to determine a limited number of Key Performance Indicators for the department.