Lord Digby Jones was the guest speaker at the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce gala dinner held at the Villa Marina.
Lord Jones is well known for his forthright attitude towards business and politics, and for his appearances on radio and television – most notably in ‘The New Troubleshooter’ BBC series.
Around 230 guests attended the gala dinner and listened to a speech by the former CBI director general and Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment in which he focused on the subject of globalisation.
The evening also marked the end of Michael Crowe’s two year tenure as Chamber President and he formally handed over the chain of office to Micky Swindale – associate director of KPMG Isle of Man – who becomes the the first woman president of Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce. (See page 46)
The evening marked the highpoint of celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of Isle of Man Chamber.
In his final speech as president, Mr Crowe thanked Lord Jones and guests, which included representatives from Wirral Chamber of Commerce for attending the evening.
He congratulated Mrs Swindale on her appointment as President and led a round of applause for Stuart McCudden, Mike Shaw and Nick Verardi, all past Presidents, who announced at the AGM that they are retiring from Chamber Council.
Mr Crowe thanked Chamber members past and present for their help and support during his term of office, and acknowledged the continued importance of Chamber working with Isle of Man Government and Chambers of Commerce in the north west of England. He then went on to outline his views on the economic challenges facing the Isle of Man.
Mr Crowe also paid tribute to former Chamber President Mike Henthorn who died in May this year, and said that the Island had lost ‘a giant of the business community’.
A minute’s silence was held at the Chamber AGM earlier in the day, and a raffle was held at the gala dinner to raise funds for Cruse Bereavement Care which is a charity Mr Henthorn had supported for many years.
In her speech, Jane Dellar, chief executive of Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce, also congratulated Mrs Swindale on her appointment, and then praised the contribution of Michael Crowe: ‘As our President for the last two years, and our Vice-President and Treasurer before that, he has been unwavering in his dedication.
‘He is decorous with a wonderfully wicked sense of humour, and I would like to thank him for all the work, much of it unseen, which he has done for Chamber – and for the support he has given me personally.
‘Fortunately, he remains on Chamber’s executive in the office of Past President, so we have a few more years of his wisdom to benefit from.’
Chamber wishes to thank Celton Manx, KPMG, PokerStars and Tynwald Mills as the main sponsors of the gala dinner event.