By Claire West

The Chief Executive of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), Sir Andrew Cahn, will step down from his role at the beginning of January.

Sir Andrew joined UKTI in March 2006 on a four year contract which was extended for another year. When he joined, he set the Government department a target to become the best trade promotion organisation agency.

This ambition was realised last month when UKTI was acclaimed by its peers as the best trade promotion agency in the developed world by the World Trade Promotion Organization.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

"Andrew has been a wonderful chief executive of UK Trade & Investment and a fantastic ambassador for the UK. He has been central to the Government’s efforts to make Britain an attractive place to invest and to sell Britain to the world. I wish him well in the years ahead."

Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable said:

“I would like to thank Sir Andrew for his contribution to UK Trade & Investment. He understands the needs of business and has worked hard to promote the benefits of exporting to British companies as well as selling the many benefits of Britain abroad.”

Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

“Sir Andrew has made a great contribution at the highest levels of Government. He has transformed UKTI into a department which is recognised internationally as the best trade promotion organisation in the developed world.”
Soon after Sir Andrew joined UKTI, a new performance monitoring system was introduced. It showed that in 2007, the department was helping 15,000 companies to earn an extra £2.5 billion every year.

Under Sir Andrew’s leadership, this has increased significantly. In the past year, UKTI has helped 25,000 companies to earn an extra £5 billion in almost 100 markets overseas.

Additionally, over the past year, UKTI has played a role in securing 759 inward investment projects, nearly half of the national total. These projects generated more than 40,000 jobs for the UK.

Sir Andrew was also the Government official responsible for the UK’s presence at Shanghai Expo. The UK’s striking and ambitious Pavilion was visited by more than eight million people and generated more than 1,000 investment leads.
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao awarded the UK the gold medal for the best Pavilion. It won the RIBA Lubetkin Prize and designer Thomas Heatherwick received the London Design Medal.

Sir Andrew played a key role in facilitating high-level trade missions abroad including the Prime Minister’s recent visits to India and China.

UKTI’s Deputy CEO and Head of UKTI International Group Susan Haird will act as interim CEO until a permanent successor is found.

Fact file

•In the last 12 months, UKTI helped around 25,000 businesses to generate £5 billion for the UK economy.

•For every £1 spent, UKTI generates £19 for the UK economy.

•UKTI has a network that extends to almost 100 overseas markets, which generate 98% of world GDP. It also has a presence in the UK regions and online at www.ukti.gov.uk.

•Ninety per cent of UKTI’s customers are small and medium-sized businesses.