UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: New Chair For Better Regulation

Press Release   •   Dec 03, 2009 11:03 GMT

Peter Mandelson, Business Secretary, today announced that Sir Donald Curry will be the new Non-Executive Chair of the Better Regulation Executive, part of the Department for Business that leads the Government’s regulatory reform agenda.

Sir Donald has extensive experience of working in the private sector and has been an adviser to the Government on the issue of sustainable farming and food since 2001. He will take up the position in January of Non-Executive Chair for the team that leads the Government’s work making life simple as possible by challenging, improving or even scrapping existing and new regulation.

Sir Donald is a successful businessman in his own right, having set up and run a number of successful enterprises. He currently chairs the NFU Mutual Insurance Society and advises the Waitrose-John Lewis Partnership on food and agriculture issues. Sir Donald will play a key support and challenge role, helping to ensure the continuing progress of, and bringing a strong business-based perspective to, the better regulation agenda.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:

“I welcome Sir Donald’s appointment and the skill and experience he will bring to this role. His leadership will help strengthen the vital relationship with the business community as we transform the regulatory framework to help boost growth and benefit us all.”

Lord Mandelson said:

“We are making great progress on the better regulation agenda, changing the way Government thinks about regulation and helping to make life as simple as possible. Building on the current momentum is essential, that is why I am pleased to announce that Sir Donald Curry will become the new Non-Executive Chair for the Better Regulation Executive.

“Sir Donald’s private, public and charity sector experience at a senior level will be invaluable in leading the better regulation agenda through the relationship with the business community and Whitehall. He brings with him a businessman’s perspective, essential for this demanding role. He has a proven track record of delivering complex and challenging policy and has demonstrated his skill as a strategic thinker and leader in many public and private sector roles. He has the respect and confidence of Government and is well regarded by the business, consumer and environmental communities.”

Sir Donald said:

“I welcome the opportunity to contribute to what is a vitally important agenda.  I look forward to tackling the debate over the benefits and costs of regulation, challenging myths and negative perceptions and delivering real change that can help improve the overall business environment and the day to day experience of the business community.

“Helping to create the best framework in which businesses can succeed, and earning and carrying the confidence of the business community, is an immensely important task and one that can make a real impact on growth and the UK economy.”

Sir Donald’s appointment is for three years, working up to two days a week. He will not be a civil servant.

Notes to editors

1.                  The Better Regulation Executive is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and was set up to play a lead role in driving through the programme of activities to simplify regulation. It works with Government departments and regulators to: improve the design of new regulations and how they are communicated; simplify and modernise existing regulations; change attitudes and approaches to regulation to become more risk-based; and ensure targets are met and results communicated effectively to key stakeholders.

2.                  Sir Donald’s appointment was made through an open recruitment process and in accordance with the Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies.

3.                  The appointment is for three years, with a salary of £650 per day based on a time commitment of up to two days per week.

4.                  Sir Donald does not hold any other Ministerial appointments at present, but until recently has provided advice to Government on sustainable farming and food policy.

5.                  All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) to be made public. Sir Donald does not undertake any political activity or hold any political affiliations.


Sir Donald is currently the Chair of NFU Mutual Insurance Society and of Leckford Estates owned by John Lewis-Waitrose, whom he advises on agriculture and food strategy.  For the past eight years he has provided advice to Government on sustainable farming and food policy, overseeing the delivery of the Government’s strategy for farming and food.

Sir Donald is also the founder and Non-Executive Chair for the north east based charity At Home in the Community, and is trustee for the Clinton Devon Estate and Lawes Trust.

He has previously chaired the Meat and Livestock Commission and the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food, whose report in January 2002 (The Curry Report) has formed the basis of Government policy.

He was awarded a CBE in 1997 for his services to agriculture and a Knighthood in the Birthday Honours in 2001 for his services to the meat and livestock industries. He is a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society and holds honorary fellowships with the Institute of Grocery Distribution, Myerscough College and the Scottish Agricultural College.

Sir Donald owns and runs a 440 acre arable farm in Northumberland.

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.


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