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04 April 2018

King's Business School Seminar Series with Barclays Chief Executive, Jes Staley

On 4 April, we welcomed the CEO of Barclays Bank, Jes Staley, to deliver a speech about how we can boost the UK’s export performance, the second in our Seminar Series collaboration with Barclays Bank.

King's Business School Seminar Series with Barclays Chief Executive, Jes Staley
King's Business School Seminar Series with Barclays Chief Executive, Jes Staley

In a near capacity Lecture Theatre 1 at Bush House, Professor Crawford Spence, Vice Dean (Corporate Relations) explained that the question of how and whom the UK exports with is vitally important for our current and future prosperity – Brexit or no Brexit.

And Jes Staley concurred. He highlighted that whilst the UK is the second-largest exporter of services in the world, it remains the tenth-largest in goods exports. Over 20,000 British SME’s are willing to export but don’t know how. Critically, British-made products are perceived as high-quality, reliable, internationally respected and good value for money. Barclays’ own research showed that 64% in India would pay more for goods made in the UK, alongside 57% in China and 48% in the UAE and South Africa.

This presents a significant opportunity for UK businesses, said Staley. Ensuring a greater number of medium-sized businesses, are comfortable with exporting across a range of areas, will help the UK get “match-fit” for post-Brexit success.

Staley then joined Professor Spence in a Q&A and topics included exporting niche products, supporting post-conflict countries to trade with the UK, and how the Business School can help us better understand Germany’s export success, with over half their GDP coming from exports. Staley also highlighted that Barclays was the first to use blockchain technology to enhance the efficiency of export transactions – the export of milk to the Seychelles - recognising how financial technology is going to be key in the drive for better, faster and quicker exports. “We know our customers’ and clients’ footprints in a way we never have before. There’s no reason why this can’t translate to our export ambitions”.


Ultimately, whilst the UK is one of the global leaders in exporting services, there is much potential in goods exports and this will be critical to the economic future of the UK. As Professor Spence said, Jes Staley has “given us reasons to be optimistic at a time of uncertainty”. 

View & Listen to Jes Staley's talk on how we can boost the UK’s export performance

Watch the video

Listen to the podcast of the full speech

Listen to the podcast of the audience Q&A

Read the full transcript

The next event in collaboration with Barclays will be on 29 May at Bush House. For more information, please contact