EO Boost Panel Discussion – What role does good business have in the economy to build back better? | 26.11.2020 – 15.45 

Penny Haslam, former broadcast journalist and presenter turned motivation speaker, will host an EO Boost panel discussion at the end of each day. EOA Chief Executive Deb Oxley OBE will participate in each discussion. 

On the 26th, panelists including Josh Hardie, Acting Director General of the CBI, Margaret Willis of Unity Trust Bank and Mike Haigh, UK Executive Chair, Mott Macdonald will discuss the impacts of good business on the economy and the future role of employee ownership. 

About the Panelists  

Josh Hardie, Acting Director General, CBI

An experienced corporate affairs specialist, Josh joined the CBI in 2016 and leads the CBI’s overall policy development, media, and campaigning work. From Brexit and global trade to Industrial Strategy, regional growth and the CBI’s new campaign, Everyone’s business, all Josh’s focus is aimed at helping business to tackle inequality and raise living standards.

This involves working with the 190,000 businesses the CBI represents to understand how they can drive prosperity forward across the UK, working with Government to ensure their policy supports this and communicating with stakeholders to khelp demonstrate the impact business can have.

Josh joined from Tesco, where he was Group Director for Corporate Responsibility. This role focused on leading on the integration of social and reputational issues into the international retailer’s business strategy and developing a new approach to campaigning with customers, the Government, stakeholders and the media on issues including health, employability and sustainability.
Josh has also held Exec-level roles at EdComs Ltd creating behaviour change strategies and campaigns for businesses, government departments and the voluntary sector, and an educational charity, Education Extra, campaigning with schools and working with the Government on educational issues.


Mike Haigh, Executive Chair, Mott Macdonald

Mike is the Executive Chair of Mott Macdonald, an engineering, management and development consultancy operating in over 100 countries and with 16,000 employees. Mike is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers in the UK and has worked and lived in many countries.

In 2017 Mike was the Chair of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering, a year which he used to promote a more integrated infrastructure industry, digital delivery and diversity, the later building on his five-year journey promoting EDI initiatives in Mott MacDonald. In both 2017 and 2018 Mike was recognised by the Women’s Business Council and Management Today by being voted one of 30 “Agents of Change” tackling gender inequality in the workplace.

“I strongly believe that employee owned businesses have a role to play in not only ensuring that the work that we do creates great social outcomes for all our stakeholders but also that we have a unique place in acting as a voice for change; advocates to direct others to create better outcomes for all.”

Margaret Willis, Chief Executive Officer, Unity Trust Bank

Margaret has more than 40 years’ experience in financial services and has been the CEO and a Board member of Unity Trust Bank since 2015.

Unity Trust Bank promotes a socially responsible and sustainable approach to banking and supports over 20,000 SMEs and organisations which share its vision to help create a better society. Under Margaret’s leadership Unity has successfully demonstrated that safe growth alongside a commitment to support customers deliver positive and lasting change offers a compelling proposition. In 2019 Unity made loans of £159m which led to social, economic or environmental change across the UK, supporting the creation or protection of 672 jobs, providing housing for 437 people and enabling 278 borrowers to access finance through responsible finance intermediaries.

Prior to joining Unity, Margaret worked for HSBC in the UK, US and Canada. She was a member of HSBC European Executive and Risk Management Committee and Diversity Council. Her Board experience included HSBC Securities and Global Asset Management, Canada.

Margaret is Vice Chair of Music for Youth, a UK-based national youth arts charity.

“At Unity Trust Bank, our aim is to create a better society by lending to organisations that contribute to positive social, economic and environmental change.

“It is widely recognised that employee ownership helps to create successful businesses which also deliver these vital outcomes.

“We are committed to promoting the benefits of employee-ownership for individuals, businesses and the economy, and highlighting how financial institutions, such as Unity, can be better equipped to provide accessible funding and tailored lending solutions.”




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