Richard Howitt, Euro MP for the East of England,announced today that he is leaving the European Parliament after more than 22 years.
The Labour MEP will become chief executive of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), which brings together a global coalition of business, investment, regulatory and civil society representatives, to drive a evolution in corporate reporting.
He is no stranger to the field, having served as Rapporteur (lead-MEP) on corporate responsibility in four terms of the European Parliament, and was a key architect of the EU’s non-financial information law, one of the biggest transformations in corporate disclosure anywhere in the world.
He has represented European interests in global initiatives on responsible business, including at the United Nations.
Richard Howitt is the second longest-serving British Member of the European Parliament, first elected in 1994, and is the only Labour MEP in the East of England.
He says he remains firmly committed to the Labour Party but is standing down as an elected representative.
He is outgoing Chair of the European Parliamentary Labour Party and is an equally longstanding member of the party’s National Policy Forum. He has served as Foreign Affairs Spokesperson for both Labour and all European centre-left Euro MPs and as a member of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministerial team during Labour’s period of government.
Mr Howitt said: “It will be a great privilege to apply my experience in Europe to a truly international role.
“Integrated reporting is the single best global antidote to the spread of short-term risks that has plagued our capital markets with uncertainty and volatility, causing harm to our economy, businesses, society and, yes, the environment.
“I feel this role is a culmination of two decade’s worth of advocacy for higher levels of corporate transparency, governance and reporting to deliver a new bargain between business, capital markets and society.”
He thanked party members, colleagues, his staff, constituents and organisations for their support during his period of office.
He added: “It has been an enormous privilege to serve in this role. It is time for me to take on a new role, but my personal values are as strong as ever, I will remain living with my family locally and I am sure the many friendships I have made will endure long in to the future.”
He expects to take up the new role in November and says he will continue with his full MEP duties until his formal resignation.
The European Parliament procedure means Britain will nominate the next Labour candidate from the last European Elections in 2014 to replace him as Euro MP.