FW De Klerk and Lord O’Neil to join Liverpool IFB 2016 ‘Blue Skies’ series

The International Festival for Business 2016 (IFB2016) is lining up a collection of thinkers, innovators, statesmen and business leaders to share their experiences, and among the first three names to be unveiled is former South African president FW De Klerk.

The Blue Skies series will take place at the end of each day at the Festival, which returns to Liverpool this year after its successful debut in 2014. Attendees will have the opportunity to listen to first-hand accounts of events that shaped a group of people’s lives.

FW De Klerk oversaw the end of apartheid and the creation of the first democratic Republic of South Africa. Since leaving politics his work has included establishing Global Leadership Foundation (GLF), a non-profit organisation.

Jim O’Neil the former Goldman Sachs economist who defined the BRICS growth economies is also one of the first three big names announced, 26 January, for the series line up. Lord O’Neil is now commercial secretary to the UK Treasury and a key architect of the UK Northern Powerhouse as an economic area that could shape the success of the UK economy in the future.

Completing the Blue Skies trinity is Liv Garfield, the FTSE 100 CEO of Severn Trent Water. Originally from Liverpool, she is one of only six female FTSE 100 CEOs and was recently announced as one of the UK Prime Minister’s Business Ambassadors.

Festival organisers promise further Blue Skies thinkers to be announced over the coming weeks and IFB2016 is also throwing open the search for attendees to suggest names they would like to hear from as part of the series. (See the #searchforblueskies twitter campaign).

Jude Kelly (pictured) OBE, creative director of IFB2016 said: “The Blue Skies series is an exceptional addition to the 2016 Festival. The opportunity to hear from a group of the most fascinating global figures is a huge draw for Festival attendees. I am delighted to welcome FW De Klerk, Lord O’Neil and Liv Garfield as the first of our speakers and look forward to learn who else will be taking part.”

Backed by HM Government, IFB2016 is the world’s biggest business festival and a huge global marketplace where deals are done.

IFB 2014 produced more than £200m of new investment deals and export sales totaling more than £80m.

This year’s Festival commences on 13 June 2016 and will focus on three key sectors: manufacturing; creative & digital; and energy and environment.

Business organisations already partnering with the Festival include lead sponsor HSBC and commercial partners Arup, DLA Piper, Dong Energy, Heathrow, PwC, Siemens and Virgin Trains.

Photo image of Jude Kelly courtesy of Gareth Jones

Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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