CEO Update

Published: 4 June 2024

The Big Story From the Last Couple of Weeks….and the UK Election!

Share this page

Duncan Edwards OBE
BritishAmerican Business

There can’t be much debate about the biggest news in the US-UK corridor of the last few weeks:  We were thrilled to recognize a trio of extraordinary people at The BritishAmerican Business Transatlantic Business Awards which were held at the Plaza Hotel on May 16th in front of a sellout crowd of senior executives.  James Gorman, Executive Chairman at Morgan Stanely was presented with the US Transatlantic Business Award by previous Honoree, Tom Glocer; Susan Wagner, co-founder and Director of BlackRock received the Entrepreneurial Award from Larry Fink and Sir Peter Westmacott, former Ambassador to the United States had the UK Transatlantic Leadership Award handed to him by Secretary Hillary Clinton.  It was quite a night!  Congratulations and thanks to our Honorees and Presenters and thanks to everyone who supported these Awards by taking tables at the event.  You can see our LinkedIn post here and photos from the event here.

There was, of course, other news of interest to our members last week, with the announcement by Prime Minister Sunak that there will a general election on July 4th.  The last election was in December 2019, resulting in a win for the Conservatives under Boris Johnson and their fourth consecutive win.  The polls this time around are indicating that this winning streak is about to come to an end; my guess is that the polls are right but that it will be closer than currently estimated, we will see.  BAB has no party-political allegiances and will make no endorsements.  What we will do is review the manifestos of the two major parties once they are published and identify the policy commitments being made in the areas that matter to our members: trade, defense, tax, regulation, competition, employment.  From what we can infer so far, differences are likely to be at the margin with little divergence from the social democratic consensus, but we will reserve judgement.  If this is the case, then the election will be about management credibility rather than policy and we suspect that the incumbent will have a very tough time with an electorate that has just faced three years of brutal inflation.  The same may well be true in the US in November. 

Parenthetically, American members of BAB may be interested to know that election spending in the UK is capped at around $43m for each party nationally which feels rather quaint compared to the billions which will be spent in the US this year.  Which approach is better for democracy is a good undergraduate political science essay question! 

For UK members watching in astonishment as the Republican candidate for President was found guilty in a New York courtroom, it is hard to know what I can add to the acres of coverage that this story is being given.  I have no idea whether an appeal will be successful but, either way, Trump will be the candidate and the election will be exceptionally close.  According to the polls, Trump remains marginally the favorite to win. 

Amidst all the election noise, BAB will be continuing our work supporting businesses with public policy engagement and the usual networking events that we know our members value so highly.  On June 6th, in London, we will present our annual Transatlantic Growth Awards (TAG) which recognize companies of every shape and size which have made investments in the other market in the preceding year.  The Awards are supported by HSBC UK, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic and if you would like to come along you can see more details here. On the same day we will release a new edition of our Trade and Investment Guide for UK companies looking to expand to the US which is the best single source of  information for companies looking to expand across the Atlantic.  

We will mark the anniversary of the Atlantic Declaration with a review of progress made against its 16 ambitious objectives early in June and will release the results of our 2024 Transatlantic Confidence Index, in partnership with Bain & Company towards the end of the month. 

Finally this month, we are offering member companies the opportunity to nominate a delegate to our leadership Forum, our ten-year-old development program for emerging c-suite leaders which consists of ten virtual sessions with BAB member CEOs and other people in prominent leadership roles, as well as development workshops.  If you are interested in finding out more about this unique program, you can follow the link here or contact Julia Greenberg. 

One of the great joys of living in the northeast of the USA is the guaranteed arrival of summer with blue skies and warm weather.  And this year, to make it even better, there is Cricket!  T 20 World Cup matches are being played in New York, Texas, Florida and the Caribbean.  As a dual citizen, I have two teams in the competition with the USA opening the competition against Canada.  England are the current holders and amongst the favorites but there are four countries in with a chance…exciting stuff!