Simon Wolfson, chief executive of Next, will be speaking at this year's Members Day.

FTSE 100 CEO heads BMF Members’ Day line-up

Published:  08 January, 2014

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has announced its first keynote speaker for Members Day 2014, Lord Wolfson, the chief executive of Next plc.

Simon Wolfson started working for Next as a sales assistant in 1991. He was appointed chief executive in 2001 at the age of 33, at that point the youngest CEO of a FTSE 100 company. Since then Next’s profits have doubled to £600m, earnings per share have grown at 16% per annum compound and the share price has more than quadrupled.

In 2010, Mr Wolfson was made a Conservative life peer. He writes a column for The Times about the economy and finance and was one of the first business people to predict the 2008/09 economic crisis.

He is also the founder of the £250,000 Wolfson Economics Prize. The first Wolfson Prize, in 2012, was for the best paper on how to manage a British exit from the EU. The 2014 prize focuses on housing, and will be awarded to the person who can solve the UK’s housing crisis by offering the best answer to the question: “How would you deliver a new garden city which is visionary, economically viable, and popular?”

Speaking at the launch of the 2014 Prize, Mr Wolfson said: “The current housing situation in the UK has created hardship and inequality for millions of people, but finding an innovative way to build communities that truly provide for and support their residents in not simple to achieve. We are looking for a big idea to address a big problem, describing what a city should look like, the quality of life it offers people who live there, and just as importantly, how it is paid for.”

John Newcomb, managing director of the BMF, said: “We are delighted that we have secured Simon Wolfson for Members Day. In addition to being one of the country’s most successful businessmen, with this year’s Wolfson Economic Prize he has shown both his understanding of housing and construction as a key driver of economic growth, and his personal passion for homes that are affordable and inspirational within a city infrastructure designed for how we live today, and future-proofed for our fast changing society.”

BMF Members Day takes place over two days on 16 and 17 September at Whittlebury Hall located next to the Silverstone race circuit in Northamptonshire.

For more information and to reserve you place at this year’s event, contact Christine Harding on 02476 854982 or via email at

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