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In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, when Khan indicated that he believed Britain was better off in the European Union but accepted the vote of the people, Agrawal joins the likes of Val Shawcross, Andrew Adonis and James Murray as senior leaders.
Agrawal is the founder and CEO of international money transfer service Xendpay and online foreign exchange service RationalFX. Writing for Real Business in March, regarding why the often troubled relationship between business and politics is a vital one, he said: “The mutually beneficial relationship is essential for economic growth, prosperity and stability. But though business can advise, it must not govern. Ultimate responsibility for a policy decision lies with politicians, of whom should take the advice of all stakeholders in society to reach a decision that will benefit the country as a whole.”
Khan wants Agrawal to “champion” London’s interests following the EU referendum result and protects jobs and growth while exit negotiations go on.
“Having arrived in London equipped with the ambition to succeed, Rajesh has created a multi-million pound business from scratch and knows first-hand the challenges that our business leaders face, and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur,” Khan said. “I know that Rajesh is the best person for the job of protecting jobs and growth in London as we deal with the fallout of the referendum.”
City Hall has confirmed that Agrawal will step down from his CEO duties to become the full-time deputy mayor for business.
When Khan beat off competition from Zac Goldsmith to become London’s third mayor, the business community responded well. Business leader James Peck, UK country manager at Jobandtalent, believed it was “extremely positive” to see the new London mayor introduce a Business Advisory Board with SME representatives to support small businesses and protect working spaces.
Commenting on his appointment, Agrawal said: “I stepped on a plane for the first time 15 years ago to make the journey to London, and found a city that welcomed me with open arms and didn’t make me feel like a stranger. This openness to talent and enterprise must not change as a result of the referendum.
“The mayor and I are determined to build a coalition that ensures the needs of business and financial services are at the fore over the coming months of negotiations with the EU. My first priority will be to listen and engage with businesses, to hear their concerns and deliver reassurance.”
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