News story: Ann Cairns appointed lead non-executive board member at BEIS

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has appointed Ann Cairns lead non-executive board member at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and launched a competition to appoint further members.

Non-executive board members are experts from outside government who provide oversight and challenge to the department in the development of policy and the management of resources.

Ann will lead the department’s board as BEIS tackles key issues facing the UK, including the economic recovery from coronavirus, efforts to combat climate change and promoting research and innovation, whilst ensuring the UK is a great place to work and to grow a business.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

It is both an exciting and challenging to time to join our departmental board as we continue to support businesses of all sizes through the pandemic and into recovery.

Ann’s wealth of private sector experience will provide the board with the clear leadership necessary to deliver our priorities to unleash a wave of innovation, reach Net Zero emissions and build back better from the pandemic.

Ann Cairns, lead non-executive board member at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said:

I am delighted to accept this leading role at such a crucial time for the UK. The BEIS team has a vital part to play in our economic recovery, by building a stronger, greener future.

The UK has showcased its ability to innovate at speed and scale with the development of vaccines and we have the opportunity to demonstrate our leadership on climate change as we host COP26. This innovation makes the UK a great place to work and do business and I am committed to working with the new Business Secretary and the wider team to ensure we build back better.

Ann Cairns is Executive Vice Chair, Mastercard, Chair of ICE Clear Europe and the Global Chair of the 30% Club. Ann brings more than 20 years’ experience working in senior management positions across Europe and the U.S. Prior to joining Mastercard in 2011, Ann was head of the Financial Services Group with Alvarez & Marsal, CEO of Transaction Banking at ABN-AMRO and held senior positions at Citigroup.

The Business Secretary has also today launched a competition to appoint further members of the BEIS board. Applicants should challenge conventional policy development, inspire innovative thinking and push BEIS to continuously improve.

Interested candidates are encouraged to contact the BEIS Governance Team by emailing or visit the public appointments website.

Notes to editors

  1. Ann Cairns is Executive Vice Chair, Mastercard, Chair of ICE Clear Europe, Global Chair of the 30% Club and Global Chair of the Financial Alliance for Women. She also sits on the UK Government’s AI Council.
  2. Ann holds a BA in Mathematics from the University of Sheffield and an MA in Statistics from the University of Newcastle. She began her career as a research scientist and moved into offshore engineering. She was the first female engineer on an offshore platform where she was responsible for the planning of the offshore engineering programs.
  3. Ann joined Mastercard in 2011 as the President of International Markets, overseeing all countries outside of the US. In this role she supervised more than 5,000 people in 200 countries.
  4. Ann was appointed Global Co-Chair of the 30% Club in June 2019 and became the sole Global Chair in June 2020. The 30% Club was founded in the UK in 2010 and is a global is a global effort with a presence in over 20 countries around the world. The 30% Club collaborates with businesses, governments and other campaigns to improve gender diversity and accelerate the pace of change throughout organisations. Campaign targets for the UK include beyond 30% representation of women on all FTSE 350 boards and executive committees and to include at least one person of colour – and with half of those seats going to women – by 2023.