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Paul Drechsler promises to focus on improving infrastructure as CBI president

Paul Drechsler will become the next president of the powerful business group CBI, succeeding Sir Mike Rake in the role.

The former Wates chief executive, chairman of business services firm Bibby Group, has been nominated to succeed Sir Mike with CBI members asked to endorse Mr Drechsler’s appointment at the annual general meeting on 13 July.

Mr Drechsler was nominated by the chairmen’s committee, led by Sir Mike. 

Sir Mike said: “Paul is a fantastic advocate for businesses of all sizes and will play a vital role in continuing to ensure the CBI’s voice is heard loud and clear on the economic and political issues that affect growth and jobs, including reform of the European Union and devolution.”

Mr Drechsler, who received an honourary CBE in February 2015 for services to the construction industry, said: “The coming months will be dominated by the prospect of an EU referendum and my focus will be on working with businesses and the government to champion ambitious reform to ensure the EU delivers for businesses and citizens at home and on the continent.

“While EU reform is top of the agenda, we mustn’t lose track of other important growth priorities, including ensuring we have an education system that addresses skills shortages and enables all young people to have fulfilling careers.

“I will also focus on securing the high-quality infrastructure the UK needs to compete on the world stage and ensuring growing firms can access the range of finance options they need to thrive.”

Prior to joining Wates, Mr Drechsler worked for ICI PLC, spending the first ten years of his career on Teesside.

He is also chairman of the board of the charity Teach First and chairman of the National Skills Funding Agency.

Mr Drechsler has been a member of the CBI Board since 2012; he was chairman of the CBI Energy Policy Committee between 2007 and 2012 and a member of the chairmen’s committee.

He graduated from the University of Dublin, Trinity College, with an (Honours) degree in Engineering Science.

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