IoD Chair calls for “competitive collaboration” at Annual Dinner event

Gordon Milligan, Chair of the Institute of Directors in Northern Ireland has called for greater competitive collaboration among business leaders here in order to set off challenges brought about by skills shortages and increasing costs.

In a speech to 400 delegates at the organisation’s annual dinner event, the Chair said that a more strategic approach to collaboration could unlock growth and lead to a more competitive future, providing better opportunities for future generations.

The event, which has not been held since 2019 due to the covid pandemic, saw business leaders and changemakers gather at the Culloden Hotel last night (Thursday 29 September) where award-winning comedian, Patrick Kielty, provided after dinner entertainment.

Sponsored by Bank of Ireland, Arthur Cox, and The Open University, the event also provided an opportunity for Mr. Milligan, who has been at the head of the organisation in NI since 2019, to update members on the results of the business group’s flash survey carried out earlier this month.

The survey results revealed that many members felt frustrated by the lack of a functioning executive and the fact that at a time of great economic uncertainty, Northern Ireland is the only part of these islands without an effective government in place.

Mr. Milligan said that while this was an “invidious position” to be in, once again business leaders were stepping up to meet this challenge.

“Our plea to politicians here is for a functioning Assembly but with or without it, all evidence shows that our civic and business leaders have stepped up to the challenge and created more than 100,000 jobs while the Assembly has been suspended.”

During his keynote address, Mr. Milligan also assured guests that the IoD would continue to protect members’ interests and lobby on their behalf at Stormont and in Whitehall.

“With so much change in the world today, it is important to build deeper relationships with trading partners and investors and we can see nationally that the government is shifting focus with the aim of making UK businesses more competitive. We are also seeing a more permanent move to hybrid working and are looking forward to a decarbonized and more technologically advanced future

“Our message to all of our members and partner organisations here tonight is that we will continue to offer you support and voice your concerns while celebrating the many achievements and strengths of businesses here. We want to look forward with hope and positivity and remain committed to playing our part to help this region realise its full potential.”

Joining the event via video link, the Bank of England Chief Economist, Huw Pill, updated the audience on recent developments in the economy and markets.

During his address he said that it would “be remiss” of him not to address the current economic situation.

“…There has been a significant repricing of financial assets. Part of that re-pricing reflects broader global developlments. Part of it reflects the ongoing normalization of macroeconomic policy after the pandemic-induced episode of exceptional ease. But there is undoubtedly a UK-specific component.”

Mr. Pill also confirmed that the Bank of England was monitoring these developments and “in particular, that UK-specific component – very closely.”

Later on the leading economist confirmed that “it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the fiscal easing announced last week will prompt a significant and necessary monetary policy response in November.”

Paul Magee, Director, Corporate Banking Northern Ireland from principal sponsor Bank of Ireland, welcomed the opportunity to support the IoD to deliver the annual dinner.

“After the enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic, we were delighted to see the return of the IoD Annual Dinner which we have supported for many years.

“As businesses continue to face a multitude of challenges, this event provided a much-needed opportunity for leaders from across Northern Ireland to meet together and learn from our common experiences.

“Once again, guests were enthralled by the tremendous line-up of speakers, each of whom delivered insightful and thought-provoking addresses.

Jayne Brady, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, was in attendance and also spoke to guests on more local political issues.

To read Huw Pill’s speech in full, visit:

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