Burberry’s Julie Brown Joins Boris Johnson’s Business Brain Trust

American Age Official

LONDON — Burberry’s Julie Brown is joining U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson‘s new business brain trust, and will be the sole voice of the country’s fashion and luxury industry in the 28-member business council.

Brown, Burberry’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer, will join British business leaders including Clare Barclay, chief executive officer of Microsoft U.K.; Charlie Nunn, CEO of Lloyds Banking Group, and Ben van Beurden, CEO of Shell, on the new business council that will advise Johnson on how to super-charge the economy in the wake of the pandemic and Brexit.

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Johnson is under enormous pressure to bolster the economy and raise the country’s morale against a backdrop of rising income taxes and price inflation, and a new business and trade environment following Britain’s exit from the European Union.

He is also keen to distance himself from a host of pandemic-related political troubles.

Johnson is the subject of a police investigation into alleged unlawful parties held at Downing Street during the government-imposed lockdowns in the U.K. He was forced to defend himself in the House of Commons earlier this week, with some members of Parliament describing him as reckless, thoughtless and unfit for office. There have been calls for him to resign.

Johnson apologized for his behavior, and said he would make things right. “I get it, and I will fix it,” he said.

Downing Street announced the formation of the business council on Tuesday with Johnson saying he wants to go “further and faster” with his plan to deliver economic growth and “level up” parts of the country.

Since the 2019 election, Johnson has been talking about investing in northern England, which lags behind London and the more wealthy southeast in terms of infrastructure, jobs and business opportunities.

The council’s formation marks the two-year anniversary of Brexit, and Johnson has also outlined plans to help businesses cut through many of the regulations, red tape and ways of working that the U.K. had adopted when it was still part of the European Union.

Downing Street said the new council will not only support the U.K.’s recovery from COVID-19, but also prioritize delivering “the green industrial revolution,” creating new jobs and “unlocking global investment.”

Johnson said: “We’ve got one of Europe’s most open economies thanks to our vaccine rollout program, and with restrictions firmly behind us, we can now go further to turbocharge the economy and unleash the benefits of Brexit.”

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said the country plans to invest billions of pounds in innovation, infrastructure and skills to ensure the U.K. “continues to be the most attractive place in the world to do business.”

Burberry’s Brown will have much to contribute: Alongside the company’s former CEO Marco Gobbetti, she shepherded Burberry through the maze of costly post-Brexit compliance and trade regulations.

Burberry also offered advice to the British government as the Brexit deal with the EU was being hammered out, and supplied PPE to NHS hospitals during the pandemic, making medical masks and gowns at its Yorkshire trenchcoat factories.

As reported, Burberry won a 573,000-pound contract from the government in September 2020 to make gowns and PPE.

The agreement was in addition to the 160,000-plus pieces of PPE which Burberry manufactured at its trenchcoat factory in Castleford, Yorkshire, and donated to the NHS and health care charities in the early days of COVID-19.

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