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James Wates CBE

James is delivering a morning keynote session on Purpose-led governance: principles for private companies at 09.35 on Day Two.

James feels passionately that business, well done, is a force for good in society. Through his 30-year career, he has seen that responsible business creates jobs, supports individuals’ career development, invests in the community, generates tax revenue, and adds social value. This commitment to the alignment of business and social benefit is integrated into the operations of the Wates Group, of which James is Chairman, and has led him to take on a number of other roles, such as Chairman of the think tank Tomorrow’s Company and Chairman of the Princes Trust Corporate Advisory Group. In January 2018 he was appointed by the Government to be Chairman of the coalition group developing corporate governance principles for large private companies (the so-called ‘Wates Principles’).

He has worked in construction all his life and seeks to drive change in the sector to ensure that it meets the UK’s needs for a high quality infrastructure and buildings in which people live, learn, work and enjoy life. Within the sector, he holds numerous positions through which he has championed change, including Chairman of the CBI Construction Council and Chairman of the BRE Trust. To help ensure that the UK punches its weight internationally, he has taken on the role of Co-chair of the government-sponsored Infrastructure Exports: UK.

In 2012 he was awarded the CBE for services to construction and the charitable sector.

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