Lancaster House Ramping Up To Be Business Embassy For U.K. During Games
The historic Lancaster House next to St James' Palace and Green Park in London is “being transformed into a showcase for British businesses and host some of the most powerful figures in finance during the Olympics,” according to Graham Ruddick of the London TELEGRAPH. The business embassy is “arguably the biggest promotion of British business since the Great Exhibition of 1851 in Crystal Palace.” It will host “17 summits during the Olympics and Paralympics with speakers including Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, Sir Martin Sorrell, the boss of WPP, and Sir Jonathan Ive, the designer of Apple's most iconic products.” U.K. Trade & Investment Embassy Managing Dir Martin Uden said, "We have the attention of the world fixed upon us. We want to show that the UK is an important and global trading partner." Lancaster House is the “core of the Government's plan to try to ensure the Olympics is an economic success and brings long-term benefits.” More than “a dozen Cabinet ministers are expected to visit the embassy," including Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne. In addition, more than “2,000 UK businesses and 1,000 international groups have registered to attend.” Lancaster House is “being designed as a location where business leaders can negotiate deals, strike new partnerships, and promote their products.” Other countries also have “booked landmark locations to promote themselves as destinations for investment.” Somerset House will become “Casa Brazil, Russia will take over parts of Kensington Gardens, and Alexandra Palace will become Holland Heinejen House” (London TELEGRAPH, 7/16).