Dame Fiona Woolf, 686th Lord Mayor of London (2013-14)


Theme: “Lord Mayor in the ‘New Normal’ 2013-14”

Dame Fiona Woolf was Lord Mayor of the City of London from November 2013 to November 2014, the 686th person to hold the office in an unbroken sequence going back to 1189. An energy and infrastructure lawyer by background, Fiona seized two opportunities in her ‘686 Plan’. The first related to the City’s abundance of long-term financial capital and the second to its abundance of human capital, which it can use for the benefit of its clients in optimising economic, societal and environmental outcomes for “people, planet and profit”.

The 686 Plan delivered four programmes that gave Fiona the means to be inclusive of many different groups and people, enabling them to hold discussions and to collaborate on solutions to the challenges of what she termed “the new normal” and to turn them into opportunities to do business sustainably and add long-term value. She described what she learned along the way and what, in her view, the next steps should be, particularly in relation to the cultural changes that business should make in order to seize the opportunities of the “new normal” and to widen the talent pool.

Fiona discussed the new approach to the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and the platform that it created for philanthropic debate and tools for better charity leadership, encouraging City talent to volunteer to chair charities.

All of this took place in between the intense role of the Lord Mayor in promoting “Brand Britain” in 24 countries and receiving a huge number of inward visits for which the Lord Mayor provides a “matchmaking” service so that business opportunities can be explored. There were many opportunities in energy, infrastructure and filling the skills gap. She talked about her work promoting STEM subjects in schools, carrying out the glorious traditional mayoral activities and interacting with the Livery companies.

She also explained why she regards the one-year tenure as one of the Mayoralty’s greatest strengths – forcing the pace and the effort to hand over the role in good shape so that it can be even more effective in the future

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