Former Downing Street policy director appointed exports minister in Johnson's interim government

Mon 11 Jul 2022
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

Caretaker prime minister Boris Johnson has appointed Andrew Griffith as the new minister for exports.

Griffith replaces Mike Freer who resigned last week.

He has previously served as a policy minister and as director of the Number 10 Policy Unit, as well as sitting on parliamentary committees for procedure and science and technology.

The MP for Arundel and South Downs was also appointed a ‘Net Zero Business Champion’ in the run-up to COP26 last year.

Mission

The new exports minister tweeted on Friday that he was “honoured” to have landed the new role in Johnson’s interim government.

“There is no greater mission than helping British businesses export more, grow the economy faster and add high skill, high wage jobs,” he said.

Challenges

IOE&IT director general Marco Forgione has written to the new minister to welcome him into the role, highlighting the challenges currently faced by the UK’s exporters.

“As you know, British exporters are currently facing real challenges,” he wrote. “Firms delivering goods and services are expecting to see their incomes slump throughout the rest of this year, after falling almost 2% between May and June this year, as demonstrated by our recent Exporter Monitor report”.

“We believe that our position as a trusted interlocuter can be of great use in governmental discussions with businesses (such as our members) going forward,” he added.

Who is he?

Griffith began his career as a corporate finance manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the mid-90s before climbing the ladder at Sky over a 20-year period, culminating in him becoming the firm’s chief operating officer in 2016.

He left Sky in 2019 and successfully stood for parliament in Boris Johnson’s election win that year, having previously failed to become the MP for Corby in 2001 and 2005.

Johnson used Griffith’s London townhouse as his campaign headquarters for the 2019 election. Griffith had been the outgoing PM’s chief business adviser until becoming an MP.

Shoes to fill

Forgione also wrote to Griffith’s predecessor Mike Freer to wish him well for the future.

“I was sorry to hear that you will no longer be in the Department for International Trade, as we at the IOE&IT have truly appreciated your commitment to the export agenda and supporting the flourishing of trade on the international stage,” he wrote.