Prezzo’s executive chair Karen Jones is the sole hospitality representative on a new Business Council set up by Boris Johnson to unlock investment and boost job creation.
30 high-profile executives make up the ‘Build Back Better Council’, which met virtually for the first time yesterday.
It includes the bosses of organisations such as BT, British Airways and HSBC, but Ms Jones is the only individual working directly in the restaurant sector.
Ms Jones has built a number of businesses, including co-founding Café Rouge and The Pelican Group, which she grew and floated before selling it to Whitbread.
She was part of the group that bought Allied Domecq’s 3,500-strong pub estate in 1999, and after the demerger of Punch Group took over the remaining 1,100 managed pubs as CEO of Spirit Group, buying Scottish and Newcastle’s managed pub estate in 2003 and leading Spirit’s successful sale in 2006.
The council will be co-chaired by the Prime Minister and Chancellor, with the Business Secretary as a standing member, and other cabinet ministers attending as required.
At yesterday’s meeting, the Prime Minister updated the council members on the vaccine roll-out and reiterated the need to look ahead to the UK’s economic recovery.
He outlined the need to seize opportunities of Brexit, support job creation, cement the UK’s position as a science superpower, deliver an upgrade to infrastructure and launch a green industrial revolution.
The Chancellor laid out the three key pillars of the government’s plan to drive growth beyond the pandemic: investing in infrastructure, skills and innovation.
He set out that improved infrastructure leads to improved productivity, skills are the single best way to drive human productivity and key in addressing regional disparity, and investment in innovation is critical to deliver new growth, ideas and services.
The Council discussed the government’s plan and offered their individual perspectives on the best ways to promote economic recovery and growth going forwards.
The council agreed to continue to provide feedback on the proposal in the coming months and consider the role that businesses can play.
Full list of Council members
Isabel Dedring, Arup
Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty
Stephen Welton, BGF
Rachel Lord, Blackrock
Bernard Looney, BP
Sean Doyle, British Airways
Philip Jansen, BT
Poppy Gustafsson, Darktrace
Penny James, Direct Line
Ronan Harris, Google
Emma Walmsley, GSK
Lord Deighton, Heathrow
Mark Tucker, HSBC
Dame Carolyn McCall, ITV
Thierry Bolloré, Jaguar Land Rover
Dame Sharon White, John Lewis Partnership
Robert MacLeod, Johnson Matthey
Cressida Hogg, Landsec
Nigel Wilson, Legal & General
Vivian Hunt, McKinsey & the CBI
Ron Kalifa, Network International
Karen Jones, Prezzo
Laxman Narasimhan, Reckitt Benckiser
Liv Garfield, Severn Trent
Carl Ennis, Siemens
Martin Murphy, Syncona
Ken Murphy, Tesco
Alan Jope, Unilever
Charlotte Hogg, Visa
Sir Ian Wood, Wood