Lord Livingston of Parkhead

Chairman, Man Group plc

Biography

Lord Livingston of Parkhead is the Chairman of Dixons Carphone plc and a Former Minister of State for Trade and Investment.

Ian grew up in Scotland and studied Economics at Manchester University after leaving school. He graduated at the age of 19 and qualified as a Chartered Accountant. He worked for Arthur Andersen, Bank of America International and 3i, the private equity investor, before joining Dixons Group plc in 1991.

Ian held a variety of roles at Dixons Group and at the age of 28 became Chief Financial Officer for Dixons US, based in Philadelphia. After return to the UK, Ian was put in charge of all the group’s financial activities, IT and property. He was made Group Finance Director at the age of 32, the youngest FTSE 100 Finance Director by some distance.

In 1998 Ian’s Corporate Development Team launched “Freeserve” which was floated a year later in the first major European floatation of an internet company. Freeserve became a FTSE 100 company which was sold for almost £2 billion in 2001 (from an original start-up cost of £240,000).

Dixons enjoyed a period of international expansion into 11 countries through a mixture of acquisition and organic growth. UK operations also expanded, resulting in doubled sales, quadrupled profits and the best performance FTSE stock over a five-year period.

In 2002, Ian joined BT as Group Finance Director. During the next three years the company’s financial position was substantially improved. Debt was reduced by £6 billion and costs fell by around £400m per annum. In 2005, Ian was appointed CEO of BT Retail which is responsible for all BT’s UK small and medium enterprise and consumer business, BT Ireland and BT. Ian drove a turnaround in results in this £6 billion division with profits increasing at double digit rate having been falling by 20% prior to taking over.

Ian was appointed Group CEO in 2008. Despite the financial crisis and turbulent times in the Global Services business, Ian drove a new multi-billion investment in fibre, a transformational efficiency programme reducing costs by £5billion and, a few years later, a major push into sport including the acquisition of English Premier League football rights. Profits and cash flow increased substantially and the share price more than quadrupled from its 2008 low.

In 2013, Ian was asked by the Prime Minister to join the Government as Minister of State for Trade & Investment and for two years was responsible for all the UK’s trade promotion, inward investment and trade policy, and a front bench spokesman in House of Lords. Ian remains a member of the House of Lords.

Ian served as Chairman of Man Group plc. From 2016 – 2020. Man Group is one of the world’s largest independent alternative investment managers responsible for the pensions and savings of 10’s of millions people around the world. The original business was founded in 1783 as a sugar cooperate and brokerage and for nearly 200 years provided the daily tot of rum to the Royal Navy. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

Ian was previously a director of Hilton Group plc (now Ladbrokes plc) and a Director at Belmond Ltd., a hotel and leisure company that operates luxury hotels, train services and river cruises around the world.

In May 2017, Ian became chairman of Dixons Carphone plc, the leading electrical retailer in eight countries in Europe. He is also a Trustee on the Board of Jewish Care, one of the UK’s largest charitable providers of health in the UK.

Ian and his wife have two grown-up children and one granddaughter. They live in Hertfordshire and London where they are avid theatre-goers. Ian is also a keen football fan and was a director of Celtic Football Club for 10 years.

Related speakers

Baroness (Patience) Wheatcroft

Journalist & Life Peer

Tim Maccabee

MD, Ducati UK

Efa Gruffudd-Jones

Former CEO of Urdd Gobaith Cymru

Professor Ian Cumming

CEO, Health Education England

Will King

Founder, The King of Shaves Company Ltd

Professor Noreena Hertz

Academic, Economist, Author