London: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has attracted CEOs from major British companies including AstraZeneca and Shell for his new Business Council as he looks to rebuild his party’s relationship with corporate Britain.
Pascal Soriot and Wael Sawan are among 14 business leaders to join the new group, which Downing Street said will “discuss ways to boost investment, innovation, and access to skills and talent.”
Other bosses who will help advise the prime minister on how to kick-start the UK’s flagging economic growth include NatWest Group’s Alison Rose, C.S. Venkatakrishnan of Barclays, Emma Walmsley of GSK and J Sainsbury’s Simon Roberts.
Sunak’s new cohort, which meets for the first time on Tuesday in Downing Street, is the latest in a long list of councils unveiled by successive prime ministers in recent years. It is the first such group since former leader Boris Johnson launched his revamped Business Council in February last year.
Sunak met with Johnson’s former Business Council in December last year before quietly scrapping the group.
The Conservative Party has had a fraught relationship with business since Theresa May took office in 2016. The Labour Party has attempted to capitalize on this by forging closer ties with companies ahead of the next general election.
The formation of the new council follows the scandal at the Confederation of British Industry, when major companies quit the lobby group amid sexual misconduct allegations.