8 August 2019

In praise of Mick Davis

By Aamer Sarfraz

The Conservative Party has announced two fantastic new co-chairmen:  James Cleverly and Ben Elliot. They will bring renewed energy and capability to CCHQ, following the very successful tenure of Brandon Lewis.

One individual who will be missed is Sir Mick Davis, who recently stepped down as Chief Executive Officer and Party Treasurer.

Mick had an incredibly successful career as a businessman and philanthropist.  For over a decade, he was Chief Executive Officer of Xstrata plc, one of the world’s most respected multinational mining firms.  Xstrata operating globally, employed over 35,000 people, and generated over $30billion of revenue, until its merger with Glencore.  The combined firm came 16th in this year’s Fortune global 5000 ranking of companies by revenue.

Outside his business career, Mick was well known for his philanthropy, generosity and commitment to the many causes he cared about – including a large number of charities, community organisations, and academic projects.  He was knighted in 2015 for “services to holocaust commemoration and education”.

We were incredibly fortunate to have a individual of his standing volunteer to run CCHQ.

Running the oldest political party in the world is complicated – there are associations, members, candidates, campaign teams, activists, finances, a 24-hour news cycle – and running a political party which is in government is even more complex.  Mick provided exceptional leadership despite a hugely challenging political environment which featured Brexit, fractures in the party, a leadership contest, local elections, European elections, new parties being formed, and all the other excitement of the last two years.

Mick worked full-time at CCHQ, purely as a volunteer.  He put his business and other activities aside to focus entirely on the party. Apart from volunteering his time, Mick was one of the party’s most generous financial backers.  As Party Treasurer, he led by example. Even during the most difficult political times, he provided the resources the party needed when almost no one else was willing to step up.  He was always working, and always available to the CCHQ team. He was one email, one call, or one text away – and receptive to all sorts of new ideas.

Mick set ambitious financial and operational targets – and met them.  In the process, he showed us what we were capable of achieving, such as building a superb network of Campaign Managers across the country.  He built a strong foundation from which the new leadership will undoubtedly benefit.

Most importantly, Mick never sought the limelight.  It was never about Mick, it was always about the Conservative Party.  He cared deeply about the mission, he was driven by his firm beliefs, and he had absolutely no personal agenda.

It was an absolutely pleasure working with him, and he will be missed.

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Aamer Sarfraz is an entrepreneur and national treasurer of the Conservative Party