Leaving the European Union (EU) presents “massive opportunities” for Britain to boost trade with the rest of the world, the new boss of the Institute of Directors (IoD) has said.
Stephen Martin, who took over as director general of the influential lobby group this month, also revealed he voted for Brexit in the referendum last June.
His appointment has surprised some, as big business was overwhelmingly opposed to Brexit.
However, the move could be part of an effort to ensure the organisation better represents small business and those outside London as well as making the most of Brexit.
In stark contrast to his predecessor, Mr. Martin grew up in working-class Belfast, has never lived in London, and previously ran a small business.
He told the Daily Mail leaving the EU “could open our eyes to the rest of the world” and urged ministers to use the UK’s new-found freedom to scrap the red tape stifling businesses.
“British businesses want to make Brexit work, and are keen to explore trade opportunities with the rest of the world that arise once we leave the EU.”
“I called it for Brexit. I expected the result,” he continued. “I genuinely believe this is because I was based in the North of England and am not London-focused. I could see the different views of the different places, different workforces.
“Remainers thought it was obvious [to stay], but it wasn’t.”
John Longworth, who abruptly left as the director general of the pro-Brussels Confederation of British Industry last year after publicly backing Brexit, said the decision to appoint a “leaver” as head of the IoD was “very sensible”.
“If the IoD is embracing Brexit, and looking to find the best way of making Britain a great place to do business, then that is to be applauded. I would hope that other business organizations follow suit,” he said.