Business leaders buoyed by positive message on regional economy

05 Sep 2014 15:56:25.580
More than a hundred company directors and business leaders attended the inaugural East Midlands Business Leaders’ dinner this week at The University of Nottingham, to hear a message of business confidence and strength from one of the country’s top CEOs, Tony Cocker of Midlands-headquartered energy firm E.ON.
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The dinner was jointly hosted by 3 of the region’s leading professional services firms – Shoosmiths, RBS and KPMG – together with The University of Nottingham. It also contributed several thousands of pounds to Impact, the University’s charitable fundraising campaign, which supports a range of projects that have a positive and lasting influence on society.

Sharing perspectives on the regional economy
It is the first time the four organisations have worked together to create a platform for their business clients and contacts from across the region to share views and perspectives on the East Midlands and national economy.

Taking place in the prestigious Trent Building at The University of Nottingham, the dinner was attended by more than 100 top executives from organisations including Alliance Boots, Dassault Systemes, Nottingham City Homes, Rolls Royce and many other top regional employers.

Understanding customer needs
Keynote speaker, Tony Cocker, Chief Executive of E.ON, spoke about his business journey at the head of a multi-billion pound company and how he helped E.ON to re-engage with its customers. He explained that based on his experience,  the key to business success is first and foremost understanding customer needs and the way a business is perceived by its customers. In his opinion, building good customer relations informs dialogue with government and underpins strong relationships with employees and other stakeholders.

Head of Shoosmiths’ Nottingham office, Andrew Pickin, said: “This was a fantastic event which brought together business leaders from across the region to share experiences and hear from one of the country’s most inspirational CEOs.”

Fellow-host Adrian Fern, Regional Director, Corporate & Commercial at RBS agreed. “The evening evidences the strength and potential of businesses in the region and has given us the opportunity to put a well-deserved spotlight on wealth creators who are helping us recover from recession.”

Optimism about regional growth
Mark Flanagan, Director of KPMG, added: “It was great to have so many business leaders from the East Midlands together in one room and particularly exciting to hear so many success stories and optimism for the growth of the region in the future.”

Mike Carr, Director of Business Engagement and Innovation Services at The University of Nottingham, commented: “We were delighted to be able to work alongside our friends at KPMG, RBS and Shoosmiths to bring together this inaugural Business Leaders dinner to the East Midlands. We are working hard here at the University to develop a business friendly environment that enables our partners to access the expertise they need to innovate and grow their businesses.”


For further information please contact: Perry Buck, Senior Communications Manager at Shoosmiths on 03700 864127; email:, or Nick King, Marketing Projects Manager at The University of Nottingham, on +44(0)115 82 32184, or email

Photo shows, from left to right: Shaun McCabe, Shoosmiths; Andrew Pickin, Shoosmiths; Mark Flanagan, KPMG; Adrian Fern, RBS; Tony Cocker, EON; Mike Carr, University of Nottingham; Liz Fuge, RBS

Notes to editors:
The University of Nottingham has 42,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the World’s Top 75 universities by the QS World University Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at the University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.

Shoosmiths LLP is a leading UK law firm with 130 partners and partner equivalents, and 1,400 personnel at offices in Basingstoke, Birmingham, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Nottingham, Reading and Southampton. Clients include household name blue chip companies, leading financial institutions, public and private sector organisations and foreign-owned corporates. Shoosmiths has been ranked number one in the national category of the Legal Week Client Satisfaction Report 2013. Shoosmiths is ranked 17th in the Leading UK Law Firm Brands 2013 survey based on interviews with 600 general counsel (Sharplegal from Acritas). Its national charity partner for 2014/15 is Winston’s Wish. Shoosmiths is a member of the World Services Group – a global association of leading legal and service professionals – and an Equal Opportunities Employer, coming top of a diversity survey conducted by the Black Solicitors’ Network.

Story credits

For more information about the East Midlands Business Leaders Dinner, contact Mike Carr, Director of Business Engagement and Innovation Services at The University of Nottingham.
Nick King  

Nick King - Marketing and Communications Manager, Energy Research Accelerator (ERA)

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 74 86727 Location: Coates Building, Faculty of Engineering, University Park Nottingham

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