Stephen Welton to chair British Business Bank as Kelvin’s Lord Smith resigns
- The Bank helps provide access to finance for British small businesses
Stephen Welton has been named the next non-executive chairman of the British Business Bank, after Lord Smith of Kelvin resigns after six years in the role.
Welton, who is a qualified solicitor, was awarded a CBE in June 2023 for services to small businesses and entrepreneurship for his career in banking.
The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank, created in November 2014 “to drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK and enable the transition to a net zero economy”.
It does this by providing access to financing for small businesses.
New appointment: Stephen Welton has been appointed as the new non-executive chairman of the British Business Bank
Welton was the founding CEO of the Business Growth Fund, created in 2011 and now known simply as BGF.
Welton, said: ‘I have dedicated much of my career to investing in growing companies and supporting entrepreneurs and innovators.
‘I passionately believe that finance is a vital ingredient in helping small businesses start, grow and achieve their ambitions, and in sustaining their huge contribution to the UK economy across the country.
‘That’s why I’m delighted to take up my role as Chairman of the British Business Bank.
‘This is a crucial time for the economy as we look to drive innovation and growth, while substantially increasing the level of long-term investment in the UK. “I look forward to working with the Bank’s team, as well as colleagues in government and the private sector.”
His predecessor, Robert Haldane Smith, is described by the University of Strathclyde, of which he is chancellor, as “one of Scotland’s leading business figures”.
He currently holds the chairmanship of SSE and the UK’s Green Investment Bank, and previously held senior positions at National Commercial and Glyns, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Charterhouse Bank. He was also president of the Weir Group.
Louis Taylor, chief executive of the British Business Bank, said: ‘The British Business Bank is delighted to mark this new phase in the growth of our organisation.
‘[Welton] has an impressive track record of leadership, significant investments and scaling experience, and has demonstrated a deep commitment to smaller businesses over several decades. He will be an invaluable asset to the Bank.’
The government added on Wednesday that the bank’s mission is “to efficiently design, deliver and manage access for small businesses across the UK to financial programs for the UK government.”
Officials and the industry are reportedly considering changing regulations to allow insurance companies, asset managers and pension funds to invest a small proportion of their funds in unlisted companies.