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Dame Nicola Brewer, equalities and university champion, to join London First board

Dame Nicola Brewer

@London_First, the capital’s leading business campaign group, has announced that Dame Nicola Brewer has joined its board with immediate effect.

Dame Nicola will join other senior business leaders on the board at a critical time for the capital, helping to ensure the business group has maximum impact as the city recovers from COVID-19. Board members who have recently joined include Sarah Sands, former Today programme editor, Dame Inga Beale, former Chief Executive of Lloyd’s of London; Tanuja Randery, Partner, McKinsey; and Dr Alan Belfield, Chairman, Arup Group.

Nicola has rich and diverse experience, having completed various international and home postings during her 30 year career in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), including as Director-General, Europe during the UK’s last Presidency of the European Union in 2005. In 2006, she was appointed as the first  Chief Executive of the newly-established Equality and Human Rights Commission, standing down in 2009 to become British High Commissioner to South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. From 2014 to 2020, she was Vice Provost (International) of University College London and remains closely associated with the university. She was appointed a Dame Commander in the 2011 Birthday Honours.

Paul Drechsler, Chair of London First, said:

“I am delighted to welcome Dame Nicola to the Board; she will bring to London First tremendous diversity of experience and achievements. 

“Nicola is enthusiastic and passionate across all key priority areas for London First; People, Place, Connectivity and Competitiveness. Her experience leading the Human Rights Commission and as a Pro-Vice Chancellor at University of London will greatly add to our commitment to make faster progress on diversity and inclusion in the capital. 

“Her extensive international experience and perspectives will be hugely valuable as we work to ensure London recovers from Covid19 and remains a fantastic capital city in which to invest, work, live and enjoy.”

Dame Nicola Brewer added:

“I am delighted to be joining the board of London First as it focuses on getting back to growth at a testing time for our capital city and the whole country. In particular, I hope to add value to work on how London’s brilliant universities can contribute even more to our communities and towards creating an innovative, inclusive and attractive business environment. I am also excited to participate in the work London First does to celebrate and encourage diverse talent, to support digital inclusion and connectivity, and to increase access to affordable housing.”

Nicola holds non-executive roles on the boards of Iberdrola SA, and Aggreko plc where she is also Chair of the Ethics & Corporate Responsibility committee. She is a trustee of Sentebale, a charity founded by the Duke of Sussex and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho which supports the mental health and wellbeing of young people affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana. She is also a member and co-chair of the UK group of the international think tank, the Trilateral Commission.

Formed in the 1990s, London First has been at the forefront of identifying solutions to the capital’s challenges. It was instrumental in creating the role of Mayor of London and the capital’s first Chief Digital Officer, as well as establishing the educational charity Teach First. More recently, London First has set out the steps needed to support the recovery  and to get people back onto public transport . The organisation holds seats on both the Mayor’s Recovery Board  and the Government’s Transition Board , to co-ordinate London’s immediate response as it emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown, and to help shape the economic recovery for the long term.

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