Douglas McWilliams – Keynote Speaker

One of Europe's top economic gurus

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Specialist Subjects

  • Global Economic Outlook
  • Business Trends
  • Industrial Sector
  • Economy of London
  • Learning from the Financial Crisis
  • Stability and Risk


  • English


Douglas McWilliams is one of Europe’s leading economists and most respected economic forecasters and analysts of UK and world economic trends. He is chief executive and founder of the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), one of the UK’s leading commercial economics think tanks, and one of the top UK economic forecasting groups, with specialist knowledge of key industrial sectors including road and rail transport, retailing, cars, vans, trucks, property, construction, plastics and information technology.

McWilliams currently advises 25 of the FTSE companies on economic and business trends and the implications for their strategies. His clients also include most of the UK’s top retailers, four out of the UK’s top ten legal firms and some of the leading firms of accountants, including the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). At a local level, McWilliams is the acknowledged expert on the economy of London and the prospects for the financial City of London, and is economic adviser to the North West Regional Development Authority and the Isle of Man Treasury.

He is famed for his communications skills and is one of the most widely quoted economists. He has a unique talent for being able to put across complex economic facts and forecasts in terms that can be understood by non-specialists. He received five awards for best forecaster for the UK in 2011. In addition to this, an analysis by CityWire in 2012 concluded that CEBR and the OECD had the best forecasting track record over the previous eight years, a period which, of course, includes the financial crisis.

McWilliams was Chief Economic Adviser to the Confederation of British Industry from 1988 to 1992, where he received the Sunday Times’ Golden Guru award for best UK economic forecaster (1992). Previously he was IBM UK Chief Economist, and Chairman of the economics forecasting group of UNICE, the European federation of employers’ organisations from 1980 to 1985. He was Visiting Professor at Kingston University Business School from 1988 to 1998, and a member of the Council of the Foundation for Manufacturing and Industry from 1993 to 1998.

He is a regular contributor for The Times, frequently appears on current affairs and business television programmes such as Newsnight and Business Breakfast, and is often heard on BBC and other radio programmes.

McWilliams is a member of the Council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies. He is also Economic Adviser to the Chartered Institute of Marketing and NCL Investments Ltd. In 2012 he became Gresham Professor of Commerce. He holds an MA in philosophy, politics and economics, and MPhil in economics, from the University of Oxford.

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