Ian Livingston snatched from BT to become UK Minister of Trade

Senior Figures Speak At British Chamber of Commerce Annual Conference

  Ian Livingstone/Getty

/By Stanley Green/

Livingston, until a few days ago the CEO of British Telecom (BT), the British multinational telecommunications services company, has shaken up the British political

establishment by accepting the role of Britain’s Minister of Trade and Investment. So anxious was Prime Minister David Cameron to have 49 year old Livingstone in his cabinet that he awarded the Scot immediate elevation to the House of Lords to circumvent the barrier of Livingstone not being a Member of the UK Parliament.

Ian Livingstone has rightly earned the admiration of the UK business community as well as the political establishment for the sterling job years done over the last five years as chief executive of BT.

During that time, with Livingston leading the company, British Telecom has succeeded in moving into profit, removed a massive debt burden as well as significantly increasing their share price in the process.

In order to take up his role in the Cabinet Livingston will be leaving his post at BT.

Ian Livingstone has never hidden his support for the UK Government’s current austerity drive, despite its unpopularity with many. When the Conservatives came into power in 2010, Livingstone was one of the first key figures in the UK economy to who takes signature to a letter urging the new British Chancellor George Osborne to stand firm in his conviction to reduce the massive UK deficit despite any pressures placed upon the government.

Livingston was apparently shoehorned into the role of minister for Trade and Investment to replace Lord Green, whose legitimacy to continue in the highly sensitive pause came under question after he was deemed to have been be caught up in recently exposed money laundering scandal that occurred when he was chairman of the HBSC Bank.

The new Lord Livingston will carry out his role as Minister of Trade and Investment on a fully unpaid basis, a factor that may not bother him too much as, reports have it that, in his last full year as chairman of BT he earned a total of £9million ($13.5 million) in salary and share options.

Prime Minister Cameron was obviously enthusiastic about capturing such an emerging talent in the private sector and convincing him to move into the public sphere “Ian Livingston is an outstanding business leader and it is a testament to the importance of this role that he has agreed to serve in Government in this capacity.” Cameron pointed out  The new Lord Cameron will be joining other Jewish leaders in the Tory Party in parliament including Lord Andrew Feldman and Grant Shapps

Ian Livingstone was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. Even as a young man attending high school, Livingstone showed his tremendous potential in the world of business and finance by winning a Royal Bank of Scotland sponsored fantasy share-investment competition, in which he turned an initial £10, 000 investment
into £30, 000 in less than one year.

The young Livingstone continued to display remarkable ability, are graduating with a degree in economics from the University of Manchester when only 19.

After graduation, Ian Livingstone joined the major accountancy practice of Arthur Andersen, where he was assigned to the Independent newspaper, going on to become their first chief accountant.

After a short spell working in the UK offices of the Bank of America, Livingstone moved into the retail industry joining the nationwide electrical chain, Dixons, where he had the distinction of becoming the youngest finance director of the company quoted on the Financial Times Stock Exchange at the age of just 32.

After Dixons were taken over in 2005, Livingston joined the BT Group, initially as Director of Finance, before rising to the role of Chief Executive. Livingston, a keen soccer fan, also holds down the role of non-executive director of Glasgow Celtic F.C., appointed to the board in 2007.

Livingston is well-known as being a supporter of a number of Israel and Jewish charities, including the United Jewish Israel Appeal, the human rights NGO Rene Cassin as well as the Jewish business incubator TraidE.

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