The Yorkshire-born and bred chief executive of Severn Trent, Liv Garfield, told the CBI conference that the Brexit vote has raised interest in the regions and that this has to be a good thing for the UK.
“I genuinely do believe we are seeing a re-balancing now with more interest in the region’s voice. The chance to listen to it has got to be a good thing,” she told delegates in London.
“I’m a proud Yorkshire girl,” she added.
“In the last four and a half years since I’ve worked at Severn Trent, one of the things that really bugged me when I first took the role is how London centric everything was.
“And as someone who spends their time in Derby, Leicester, Coventry, Birmingham, Wrexham, it is frustrating. At the same time actually I’ve seen huge investment going into the regions over the (most recent) period of time.”
“I (now) don’t think the regions are getting left behind. I actually think the opposite.”
When asked what business needs from the Brexit negotiations, she said: “Business likes and needs certainty. It’s got to invest, it’s got to plan and it’s got to make the right calls for the future to make the country successful and that’s why you’ve seen people rally behind the plan that’s been talked about.
“It is a plan and business wants certainty so it’s happy to go forward with that plan.”
Ms Garfield, who was raised in Harrogate, said she is passionate about inclusion at a time when only a handful of FTSE 100 chief executives are female.
“I find it a surprise I’m still rare. It feels somehow not right.”