Mark Price is the latest Trade Minister to come into government from business; his predecessors include ex-CBI Director Digby Jones, bankers Mervyn Davies and Stephen Green, and former BT chief Ian Livingston. Maude was an experienced politician as well as a former businessman, and the post – in various guises – has been held by some ‘career’ politicians like Douglas Alexander. But, as being Trade Minister involves negotiating deals, promoting inward investment and UK export, it seems sensible that someone with proven business acumen should do it. Coming into government from another sector is a culture shock: such ministers might have been CEOs of multinationals yet have little idea how to work the Whitehall and Westminster machines, (though Price has a headstart from serving as a Cabinet Office non-executive). These specialist, Lords ministers are affectionately known as GOATs – part of a ‘government of all the talents’ – and currently include the pensions campaigner Ros Altmann, economist Jim O’Neill, tech. entrepreneur Joanna Shields and businessman David Freud. Our Ministers Reflect archive includes interviews with a number of former GOATs, two of whom – Lords Green and Livingston – have previously held the Trade role. What is their advice? 1. Get […]

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