‘I want to make DBT one of the best places to work’: Gareth Davies shares his vision for the new department

The Department for Business and Trade perm sec talks about the challenges of 2023 and the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special
Construction on the "battery gigafactory" in Washington, Sunderland. Photo: Washington Imaging/Alamy Stock Photo

By CSW staff

14 Dec 2023


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

Exciting, rewarding... and non-stop! 

...And why you chose those words   

I was excited and honoured to be asked to lead the new Department for Business and Trade at the start of the year. Our work touches the lives of people across the country. We support businesses, helping them to invest, grow and export, to create jobs and opportunities for families and communities. I grew up in Liverpool in the '80s. They were tough times. I saw firsthand what happened to communities when investment dries up, businesses close and people lose their jobs.  

And it's been rewarding to see the impact we've had over the last year. We've helped to secure a new battery gigafactory, which will create thousands of jobs and help Jaguar Land Rover switch their production to electric vehicles. We welcomed a momentous deal for Airbus and Rolls-Royce to provide new aircraft for Air India, creating jobs across the country. We’ve protected vulnerable workers through reforms to the labour market and increases to the minimum wage. And the new CPTPP trade deal with countries across the pacific will open up opportunities for exporters.  

But most of all, it's felt non-stop! In addition to helping businesses, we've been building the new department. We've now got seven hubs across the country, and the default is that any job can be done in any of the hubs. I've also been visiting our teams across the UK and our global network in Singapore, Istanbul, Brussels, New York and São Paulo – just to name a few!  

What are your organisational and personal priorities for 2024?   

Next year I want to keep helping to drive economic growth and create long-term prosperity. We're deep in negotiations with India on a trade deal, working with our allies to make supply chains more resilient, modernise competition policy and regulations for the digital age. I’m looking forward to continuing our regular engagement with businesses, hearing directly from them on the issues that matter most and how we can support them to scale up and grow. And we also have a number of big investments we hope to land – watch this space! 

I also want to deliver on the potential of the new department. I want to make DBT one of the best places to work. Where everyone feels valued, supported and listened to – and most importantly can see the positive impact they are having across the country.  

On a personal level my goal is to get to a Liverpool match at Anfield. The last time I was there was just before Covid struck and it finally looked like we were going to win the league for the first time in thirty years. Fingers crossed for this year. 

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

I go all in on Christmas, nothing makes me say bah, humbug. The tree went up the last weekend in November – that's the official start for me. From then on, you're allowed to eat chocolate coins at random points in the day.  

My wife and I travel a lot for work, so our big treat at Christmas is bunkering down and watching a lot of films. Love Actually and Die Hard are classics. But my favourite is the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special – the original of course! 

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

Read the most recent articles written by CSW staff - Tell us about HR in your organisation


HR Leadership
Share this page