‘Here’s my card’: The three words that sum up export chief Tim Reid’s year

The chief exec of UK Export Finance looks back on the year he took the leap from banking to the civil service
Photo: Adobe Stock

By CSW staff

27 Dec 2023


Tell us three words that sum up your 2023...  

“Here’s my card.” 

...And why you chose those words   

My 2023 began with the announcement that I’d been appointed CEO of UK Export Finance. Before this I’d spent 34 years at HSBC working in various roles around the globe supporting trade and investment. So, this year has been quite a big change for me. Moving from the banking sector to Whitehall has been eye-opening, but UKEF’s uniqueness for feeling like you’ve got one foot in the civil service and the other in the private sector has helped quite a bit. I’ve learned a great deal already (no, not just acronyms and the distinct sound of the voting bell!) 

“Here’s my card” sums up my year because I have made it my prerogative to meet as many stakeholders, customers and colleagues as possible. I’ve travelled overseas to see customers, find new opportunities and witness first-hand the progress on the construction of our projects. It’s been a busy, demanding year but incredibly enjoyable.  

Our department's day-to-day work creates so much tangible, quantifiable good and it’s a huge part of why I wanted this job. We supported 55,000 jobs last year. We back businesses in the United Kingdom, which in turn benefits livelihoods and economies here at home and around the world. We’re involved in the construction of hospitals, offshore wind farms and electric vehicle manufacturing to name a few.  

What are your organisational and personal priorities for 2024?   

At UKEF we’re focusing on four priorities: impact, growth, customers and people. I’ve set those priorities because they embody everything that we do. We help British businesses up and down the country to export by absorbing risk for them, and unlock projects around the globe that they can supply too. Exporting boosts the economy, pays wages and gets goods flowing. I’m proud of our 500+ strong team who work extremely hard for businesses and are key to our many successes, like being the only department in Whitehall to operate at no net cost to the taxpayer. In fact, we make a profit. 

As for my personal priorities? In 2024, I don’t intend to slow down. I want us to be ahead of the curve in terms of what our customers need from us and what is happening in the markets. In the spring, we’ll be launching our new business plan which sets our direction for the next five years. Watch this space! 

What’s your favourite festive treat, and what makes you say: ‘Bah, humbug’?  

Christmas cake and mince pies. I’m always trying to see where the opportunities are for UK businesses to export, but even I’ll concede that the international market for mince pies hasn’t quite taken off yet.  

And I'm a fan of keeping things simple, but I draw the line at the abbreviation “Xmas”. We’re in the era of predictive text, so how much time are we really saving with it anyway? Bah, humbug! 

This is part of CSW's annual perm secs roundup. Read all the entries to the 2023 roundup here

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