In Conversation: Gordon Innes

Gordon Innes, London & Partners

We regularly speak to some of London’s leading figures from within the property, investment, finance and charity sectors.

Those we have spoken with recently include Sonal Shah, Executive Director of The Capital Community Foundation, Christopher Hamer, The Property Ombudsman, and Richard Blakeway, Mayoral Advisor on Housing.

Today we talk with Gordon Innes, CEO of London & Partners.

In one sentence, could you sum up the work of London and Partners?
London & Partners is the official promotional agency for London attracting and delivering value to businesses, students and visitors.

You are a recent addition to the organisation – how does it differ from your time working for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills?
Most recently at BIS, I delivered economic and financial policy solutions to support green economic and business growth. But I also previously led a large sales and marketing team delivering strategic trade and investment advice to business clients. London & Partners allows me to draw on this broad background, as well as my time in legal practice, for the benefit of the best big city on earth.

It’s going to be a busy year ahead, but what’s high on the London and Partners agenda?
London is one of the most inspirational and diverse capitals on the globe and these are thrilling times for the city. Over the next twelve months we look forward to hosting some of the world’s most exciting events including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, World Pride, Charles Dickens’ 200th anniversary, World Shakespeare Festival and of course the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

London & Partners will be busy highlighting events such as these as part of ‘Limited Edition London’, our upcoming global tourism campaign which aims to drive visitors to the city in the period between now and July 2012 by highlighting all of the unique things that can only be experienced in the capital.

Our foreign direct investment (FDI) te am continues to drive business from our key markets, harnessing the exciting potential of areas such as Tech City, a new innovation hub for London and, indeed, Europe.

Of course, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and its legacy will provide a raft of opportunities for the city. We will be actively engaging with our partners and clients to ensure that we make the most of this opportunity across all of our business areas, promoting London as the best city in the world to visit, study and invest.

What role will London and Partners play in the 2012 Olympics (before, during and after)?
The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games are a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the UK capital, and London & Partners will play a key role in ensuring the profile of London is maintained and promoted to a global audience before, during and after the event. London & Partners are responsible for running the London Media Centre, the non-accredited media centre which will host in excess of 6000 press over the games period. We are currently working with partners around the city to build a programme of content for the media centre, ensuring that press visiting the city will have a range of London experiences, spokespeople, tours and events to provide them with a flavour of the city.

The London & Partners’ consumer website, visitlondon.com, is an essential guide for leisure visitors to the city, and never will this be more true than in the lead up to and during Games time. The site will provide inform ation on all of the cultural events, exhibitions and shows taking place, as we well as a raft of essential information about accommodation, travel, and more.

We have also been working with the Mayor’s office to create the London Visitor Charter, which encourages London businesses to sign up to fair pricing and practice during games time. The first of its kind for an Olympic host city, the charter provides assurance to potential visitors to the city that London will remain good value for money in 2012.

As the official convention bureau for the city, we’re actively working with National Olympic Committees and sponsors to source their London locations for the Games, as well as engaging London venues to help them make the most out of the Olympic opportunities. The FDI team has also been working with international companies to highlight hundreds of unique business opportunities, ensuring that businesses benefit from the legacy of the Games for years to come.

What’s been your most memorable moment or proudest achievement professionally to date
Securing the role of CEO at London & Partners! I’ve also been lucky enough to have had many, diverse and memorable professional experiences – preventing a constitutional legal challenge, turning around a poorly performing team, convincing a big US investor to come to London, helping a local music band secure a US record label, securing billions of pounds for green infrastructure development and being told by members of my team that I’d made an impact on their careers.

What does a typical day look like for you? Where might you be on a daily basis?
London as a city is constantly evolving, and no two days at London & Partners are the same. Having said that, my early days are focusing on getting to know my excellent team and our stakeholders and partners – to make sure we’re delivering value for you – and on the targeted, effective promotion which will bring the maximum economic benefit to the capital.

What are the main day-to-day challenges you face?
Since the launch of London & Partners in April this year, we have been working hard to harness the benefits of a single, powerful voice for London, to create a truly world-class promotional agency and to do things more creatively and collaboratively, to deliver greater economic value for our partners and this great city.

What is your favourite London landmark?
The Thames, from Chiswick to Putney, which I used to row several mornings a week.

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