Khan appoints new business deputy for City Hall

Howard Dawber is a former managing director of the Canary Wharf Group, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Howard Dawber (credit Peter Matthews)
Howard Dawber is Sadiq Khan’s new business deputy (credit Peter Matthews)

Sadiq Khan has revealed a former managing director of the Canary Wharf Group as his new business deputy.

Howard Dawber was announced by City Hall this morning (Monday 18th) as London’s new deputy mayor for business, replacing Rajesh Agrawal in the £141,000-per-year role.

Agrawal stood down last month following his selection as Labour candidate for Leicester East at the next general election

Khan said his new deputy has “a wealth of experience at the very centre of London’s business community”, having “been involved in some of the most significant projects the capital has seen in recent years, including the Olympics and the Elizabeth Line”.

The mayor added: “Howard gets as much as anyone that it’s the continued success of London’s businesses that will drive economic growth, not just in London but across the country.

“I look forward to working with Howard to bring more jobs to the capital and banging the drum for London across the globe as I continue to work to build a better, fairer and more prosperous city for everyone.”

Dawber is himself a former Labour candidate, having stood unsuccessfully to become MP for Cheadle, Greater Manchester, in 2001 and for Bexleyheath and Crayford in 2010.

The new deputy said he was “honoured and excited to join the mayor’s team”, which includes nine other deputy mayors.

The role commands a salary of £141,406 per year – though Dawber’s contract only runs until May 2024, due to the mayoral election taking place that month.

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If Khan loses that election, a new mayor would have the power to appoint their own deputies.

Conservative candidate Susan Hall told the ‘Never Kissed a Tory’ podcast in November: “My deputy mayors would not be mates that I’d just want to give a good salary to.

“They will be people that know what they’re doing about the subject for which they’re in charge.”

But she clarified that she will not be revealing who she has in mind for the roles unless she is elected to the top job herself.

Dawber is best known for his work at Canary Wharf Group, where he spent nearly 20 years as strategic advisor and then managing director of strategy.

According to City Hall, he worked during this time on the Elizabeth Line project and on inward investment, tourism, events, technology and life sciences programmes and international engagement. Since 2022, he has run his own consultancy focused on infrastructure and development.

The new deputy mayor said: “There are so many great stories to tell about the amazing entrepreneurs and enterprises across the capital.

“In a challenging economic environment for London’s companies, especially SMEs, Sadiq has stayed true to his promise of being the most pro-business mayor ever.

“London is already among the top global destinations for tourism, for retail, for tech, for life sciences, culture, financial and business services, law and many other sectors.

“My job is to ensure that London is number one, so that all Londoners can benefit from the jobs and investment this brings.”

Dawber’s appointment was welcomed by Craig Beaumont, chief of external affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses, who called him “an excellent choice for deputy mayor, and at a critical time for business in the capital and nationally, too”.

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