British Chamber of Commerce Abu Dhabi Appoints BAE Systems Senior to Lead Defence Cluster

27.01.2024 UAE
British Chamber of Commerce Abu Dhabi Appoints BAE Systems Senior to Lead Defence Cluster

British Chamber of Commerce Abu Dhabi Appoints BAE Systems Senior to Lead Defence Cluster

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The British Chamber of Commerce Abu Dhabi (BCCAD) has appointed Jonathan Bird, BAE Systems’ UAE Country Director, to lead its specialist defence sector cluster. He will play a pivotal role in fostering relationships and building collaboration between the UAE and UK defence industries.

As a longstanding defence professional with 25 years’ industry experience, Jonathan leads BAE Systems’ strategic development in the Emirates, focusing on key stakeholder engagement across multiple domains. These include sophisticated technologies applied to land, sea, space, cyber, air and electronic systems.

Prior to taking up this assignment in Abu Dhabi, Jonathan served as BAE Systems’ Head of Industrialisation for the Middle East region, where he was tasked with developing strategies to expand partnerships and joint ventures covering knowledge transfer, supply chain and investments in new technology.

Jonathan Bird, BAE Systems’ UAE Country Director, said: “The BCCAD is well placed to accelerate business opportunities between the UAE and Britain. It has a long-established track record of success spanning nearly 30 years. In addition to my role at BAE Systems, I look forward to taking on board the challenge for the defence industry, which offers rewarding commercial opportunities together with critical knowledge transfer.”

Jonathan has led a number of high profile education initiatives in the Gulf region, such as the acclaimed Make It Challenge, run successfully across the UAE for nearly 10 years. Internships are another area where his leadership has delivered significant results in promoting awareness of the vital role STEM subjects play in the diversification of local economies. Four Emirati students are currently undertaking placements at BAE Systems’ facilities in the UK, where they’re developing their technical and engineering skills in the space and cyber domains.

The BCCAD contributes to this process by building ever-strengthening bonds between the UK and the Emirates. Formed in 1996, the Chamber is part of the Global Business Network of British Chambers of Commerce providing its members with access to 76 chambers around the world and 53 in the UK. Its mandate sets out to inform, connect and support.

Commenting on behalf of the BCCAD, Nick Cochrane-Dyet MBE, Chair said: “The defence and security of the region is of paramount importance to our hosts here in the UAE. It not only delivers the security that the Nation wishes to deliver to its community, but also creates a vehicle for reciprocal investment and commerce between Britain and the Emirates. One example of this is the £10 billion investment fund announced over the past two years. The UK’s leadership in defence and technology is front and centre of such programmes.”

The appointment coincided with the Unmanned System Exhibition and Conference (UMEX), which took place in Abu Dhabi between 23-25 January.




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