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Economic news – Embassy 11 – September 2008

Brown's 'Business Ambassadors'

Gordon Brown has appointed 17 "Business Ambassadors’ to inspire confidence and promote investment in the ailing British economy.

Those involved include academic and industry heavyweights such as Vodafone chairman Sir John Bond, Lord Digby Jones and Cambridge Vice Chancellor Professor Alison Richard.

The move follows the Prime Minister’s cabinet reshuffle, intended to shore up the government’s capacity to cope with the global economic turmoil.

The reshuffle included the shock return of Peter Mandelson as the new Business Secretary whose departure from Brussels caused delight and dismay in equal measure.

The powerful former EU Trade Commissioner was popular in free-trading EU nations as well as developing countries, but much less so with the more protectionist countries.

As one Latin American envoy in London put it: “He was not very popular in some EU quarters but we always thought he was a good commissioner.”

Mandelson’s successor is Baroness Catherine Ashton, who enjoys a much lower public profile.

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