CBCC member interview - Lord David Evans of Watford

It’s all about people.

Lord Evans welcomes me with a contagious laughter and hilarious sense of humour; behind that, however, is a successful entrepreneur with a big heart as he talks about his passions and how he wants to make a difference in everything he does.


He immediately starts off mentioning his recent speech at the conference on smart cities in Vilnius, Lithuania. “I introduced my speech with a quote by Napoleon - which probably confused everyone but I got their attention! The speech focused on SMEs, that is one of my greatest areas of interest and I served on the House of Lords’ Select Committee for SME Exports.” Lord Evans believes that SMEs are catalysts for innovation and invention; however, they need nurturing and supporting. “We have an army of SMEs who contribute greatly to our economy and represent a huge potential,” he shares.


And now, our interview can begin…


What brought you to publishing?


“My background is in printing and publishing; I set up my first company, Centurion Press, at the age of 29. Over the years, we have worked on some very prestigious projects. More recently, as director of Newsdesk Media, we publish investment guides for countries in Central Europe and Africa, for Azerbaijan, China, Qatar, the UAE, Kazakhstan, for the G20 and NATO, to mention but a few. We are the only European authorised publisher for the G7 in Germany and we are already working on the Turkish G20 conference book. I must admit, I also do a bit of the so-called ‘vanity publishing’, such as books on James Bond, Frank Sinatra and Jazz - it may be my hobby but these high quality Evans Mitchell books sell well internationally.”


It is not just about publishing…


“We are a specialised publishing house – through our publications we promote countries, helping to boost Foreign Direct Investment and Exports for countries directly. Our publishing business is closely linked to developing high-level government relations and increasing brand awareness. Therefore, many publications are launched at embassies, in the presence of government ministers and key investors. For our very successful Czech Republic book, we launched at the British Embassy in Prague and the Czech Embassy in London."


There is a lot on your agenda – is it manageable?


“Yes, and it keeps me busy; I don’t want to sit at home, watching daytime TV, getting bored and I love doing different things.


"In addition to my work at the House of Lords and, of course, in my publishing business, I am deputy chairman of Advanced Oncology plc, producing the next generation of cancer therapy, and a senior advisor to Arcanum - a leading international cyber security and intelligence company. I also enjoy charity work, particularly in supporting Prostate Cancer, my local Hospice in Watford and sponsoring a luncheon for Cancer Research UK every year. I'm chairman of Kennedy Scott, a welfare to work company - where we help people who are long-term unemployed and sometimes difficult to employ, helping them get jobs, apprenticeships and providing assistance and training. With around 2 million people unemployed here this is obviously a great initiative.”


What else is keeping you busy?


“I am chairman of the Institute of Collaborative Working. This is very exciting role as the ICW encourages organisations to work collaboratively, rather than on a typical procurement, supplier - customer basis. Businesses can become more successful if people are transparent and work well together, which in turn saves a lot of money. We are UK based and growing internationally - for example we are helping the US Pentagon and others develop collaborative working. We've perfected a BS 11000 standard which will soon become an ISO standard. This is a great British initiative that enables organisations to work much more efficiently together."


How would you define yourself in three words?


“Jack of all trades [laughs, again] - I very seriously do love networking and developing good relationships. I suppose that means getting on with people, which is important in business as well as in politics. In developing brand awareness and very importantly in building trust. As we all know, in business, people tend to work with people they like and trust, people who provide a reliable and superb service.


“At the end of the day it really is all about people. Being professional, creative, having good ideas, thinking laterally, being aware of opportunities and coming up with creative solutions in anything you do.”


“I love networking and being a member of Chambers of Commerce, including the CBCC, provides a great platform for engaging with people and building business contacts on multiple levels.” Lord David Evans of Watford

Launching 'Invest in the Czech Republic' at the British Embassy in Prague, in presence of the representatives of the British Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic.

Lord Evans with the Lithuanian Prime Minister

By Tereza Urbankova, member of the CBCC Executive Committee


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