UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Reappointments to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills

Press Release   •   Dec 11, 2009 11:22 GMT

Ministers have agreed to re-appoint Larry Hirst CBE and Dave Prentis as Commissioners with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.

Sir Mike Rake, Chairman of both BT Group PLC and the UK Commission said:

"The strength of the UK Commission is due in no small part to the calibre and diversity of its leadership, and both Larry and Dave have played a full and active role in this.  I have very much enjoyed working with them over the past eighteen months, and am extremely pleased that we'll be able to continue to develop this relationship, to the benefit of both the UK Commission and the UK’s employment and skills systems as a whole."

Larry Hirst is Chairman, IBM Europe, Middle East and Africa and Dave Prentis is General Secretary of UNISON.

Notes to Editors

1. These appointments have been made in accordance with the requirements of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Neither Larry Hirst or Dave Prentis receive payment for their membership of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills

2. Larry Hirst has been reappointed for two years from 11 December 2009. He is Chairman, IBM Europe, Middle East and Africa. Previously, Larry was General Manager for IBM's operations in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and South Africa. In addition to his IBM responsibilities, Larry is an Advisor on the Presidential International Advisory Council on Information Society and Development (PIAC) for South Africa. In 2008 Larry was asked to take up the role of Chairman of the UK Trade and Investment Executive Board responsible for driving the UK’s trade and investments objectives in the telecommunications and IT technology sectors. Other roles include Chairman of e-skills UK, the Sector Skills Council for IT, Telecoms and Contact Centres, and Chairman of the ‘Transition to Teaching’ Steering Committee. In 2006 Larry was awarded the CBE in recognition of his services to the IT industry.

3. Dave Prentis has been reappointed for three years from 11 December 2009. He is UNISON's deputy general secretary from its formation in 1993 and drove through a strategic review of the union, aimed at delivering key reforms, to bring union services closer to the members. Dave is a Director of the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR). He is also an adviser to the Warwick Institute of Governance and Public Management and a visiting fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. Dave is a member of the ACAS Council (receiving £2,600 per annum) and President of Unity Trust Bank.

4.  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.  Larry Hirst has not declared any political activity. Dave Prentis is a member of the Labour Party Policy Forum and also its National Policy Committee and has spoken and canvassed on behalf of the party or its candidates.

5. UKCES’ primary role is to advise the UK Government on how employment and skills services could be improved, and to report progress towards world class standards. The UK Commission also has an executive role, in funding and performance managing the 25 Sector Skills Councils (SSCs).

6. The UK Commission has 23 Commissioners representing employers, unions, academia and the third sector. It is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Department for Work an Pensions, the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the Treasury and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. BIS is the lead sponsor department. Further details are available at

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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