Stephen Welton takes over as chairman of the British Business Bank after Lord Smith of Kelvin steps down
- The bank helps provide small businesses in the UK with access to finance
Stephen Welton has been appointed as the next non-executive chairman of the British Business Bank as Lord Smith of Kelvin steps down after six years in the job.
Welton, a qualified solicitor, was awarded a CBE for services to small business and entrepreneurship in June 2023 for his career in banking.
The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank, established 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 giving small businesses access to financing.
New appointment: Stephen Welton has been appointed as the new non-executive chairman of the British Business Bank
Welton was the founding chairman of the Business Growth Fund, which was established in 2011 and is 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 firmly believe that finance is an essential part of helping smaller businesses start, grow and realize their ambitions and maintain their huge contribution to the UK economy nationwide.”
“That’s why I’m delighted to be taking up my position as Chairman of the British Business Bank.
“This is a crucial time for the economy as we look to drive innovation and growth whilst significantly increasing the level of long-term investment in the UK.” “I look forward to working with the Bank’s team, as well as my colleagues in government and in the private sector.”
His predecessor, Robert Haldane Smith, was described as “one of Scotland’s leading business figures” by Strathclyde University, where he is Chancellor.
He is currently Chairman of the SSE and the UK Green Investment Bank, having previously held senior positions at National Commercial and Glyns, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Charterhouse Bank. He was also chairman of the Weir Group.
Louis Taylor, chief executive of the British Business Bank, said: “The British Business Bank is pleased to mark this new phase in the growth of our organization.”
‘[Welton] has an impressive track record of leadership, significant investment and scaling expertise, and has demonstrated a deep commitment to smaller businesses over several decades. He will be invaluable to the bank.”
The government added on Wednesday that the bank’s role is to “design, deliver and efficiently manage access to finance programs for smaller businesses across the UK for the UK Government”.
Authorities and industry are reportedly considering changing regulations to allow insurance companies, asset managers and pension funds to invest a small portion of their funds in unlisted companies.