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David Gavaghan, new CBI Chair, reveals 5 key priorities

david gavaghanCBI Northern Ireland’s 27th Chair, David Gavaghan, took up his role at the leading business organisation on the 1st of January.

David Gavaghan is Managing Director of Aurora Prime Real Estate Limited, established in 2015 to invest in Grade A office space in Belfast; the fund is in the process of raising £50m both locally and internationally. David, a past Chief Executive of the Titanic Quarter and the Strategic Investment Board, believes that Northern Ireland in general and Belfast in particular is very well placed to achieve a major transformation in its economic performance.

He succeeds Colin Walsh, who will become Vice-Chair of the organisation. A new vice chair will be appointed on 31 December 2016.

CBI Northern Ireland Director, Nigel Smyth, said: “I am delighted to welcome David as the new CBI Northern Ireland Chair. Our future prosperity and jobs will depend on a growing private sector. David’s breadth of business knowledge and experience across a range of public and private sectors gives him the relevant insight to represent the interests of our members with the Executive and provide the necessary leadership over the next two years.”

The new CBI Northern Ireland Chair, David Gavaghan, said: “I am honored and delighted to take up this opportunity and challenge. After a protracted period of stop/start government, we enter 2016 with a more positive and optimistic outlook. In particular, the commitment by the NI Executive to reduce Corporation tax to 12.5% from April 2018 will be a game changer, driving business growth and potentially generating at least 30,000 additional jobs over the next 15 years.”

“Yet much remains to be done to create a sustainable and balanced economy. The role of business has never been more important and I look forward to working with our members to create a better business environment which will create jobs and prosperity for all.”

The new CBI Chair identifies five key priorities where he is particularly keen to secure progress over the coming year

  • Ensuring the next Programme for Government is ambitious, strategic and outcome focused
  • Outlining the vital importance of Northern Ireland’s economic future as a member of a reformed EU, with a referendum expected later this year
  • Developing a strategy to maximise the benefits of a lower Corporation tax, to ensure we transform the economy and create over 30,000 additional jobs over the next 15 years
  • Aligning our education and skills with the economy, and establishing a more sustainable funding platform for our universities and colleges, to ensure we can deliver the requisite quantity and quality of students locally, and
  • Creating an ambitious plan to ramp up investment in our infrastructure from its current levels to meet existing and future requirements.

David concluded: “I am very grateful for the enormous efforts of my predecessor, Colin Walsh, who has helped strengthen CBI Northern Ireland’s position as the voice of business and set out a compelling agenda for change. I look forward to working with Colin and the CBI Northern Ireland team to deliver our agenda in the coming months. The economic backdrop has improved significantly in recent years, and the prospects for the next five years are very exciting.”