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New British American Business Council head hopes to enhance local ties with the U.K.

After spending much of his career handling cross-border deals, Morgan Lewis & Bockius partner Michael Pedrick has been appointed president of the British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia (BABCPHL).

Pedrick, a founding member of the organization, will serve a two year term. During that time, he said he hopes to provide key programming for local businesses on hot topics such as Brexit while also spreading the organization’s reach.

Pedrick, a New Orleans native, joined Morgan Lewis in 1988 and represents borrowers in financing transactions and corporate clients in strategic acquisitions and internal restructuring. Many of his transactions are cross-border in nature, with a good number of clients either emanating from the United Kingdom or U.S companies seeking to do business there.

Pedrick has been involved for about 15 years with BABCPHL, which is one of 22 chapters in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. He said membership includes over 250 companies and individuals that have businesses in the region.

There are “club level” members offered by invite only to companies interested in a more committed relationship with the organization. They include law firms Drinker Biddle & Reath, Duane Morris, Morgan Lewis and Pepper Hamilton, TD and HSBC banks, American Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic Airways, Cigna and all of the Big Four accounting firms.

Pedrick said he met with Philadelphia Commerce Director Harold Epps and the department’s Director of International Investment, Lauren Swartz, to discuss how he can work with them to facilitate more business activity with U.K entities.

“I met with them so if they have something that requires recruiting a U.K. business, we will work with the city and state to help those businesses understand the atmosphere here,” Pedrick said.

The U.K. is the fourth-largest trade partner with Pennsylvania, behind Canada, Mexico and China — a statistic that mirrors many other states. Pedrick said the biggest industry sector in the U.K. is chemicals and two-thirds of the businesses are small or midsized.

“The sectors really match up well with Philadelphia and its strengths,” Pedrick said. “Life sciences, education, chemicals. It’s very tech oriented.”

Swartz said the U.K. is also the foreign country with the largest number of companies and employees in this region. drug companies GlaxoSmithKline and Adaptimmune both have significant operations in Greater Philadelphia.

More recently, Frank Recruitment Group, a British staffing firm focused on tech jobs, signed a five-year lease last year to take a 21,300-square-foot office at 1801 Market St. and said this summer that it was nearly halfway toward meeting its goal of creating 250 local jobs.

U.K. sandwich chain Pret A Manger expanded into Philadelphia for the first time this summer when it opened two locations at the University of Pennsylvania.

The latest entry into the market is Shout Digital, a digital marketing firm founded in 2009 that recently opened offices in One Liberty Place.

There are also U.S. companies expanding into the U.K. market. In May, Center City-based startup Curalate, which creates software that links brands’ online visual content to points of purchase, announced it’s officially launched a U.K. arm to take advantage of the growing demand it is experiencing in Europe.

At Philly Tech Week last May, BABCPHL held its annual “Uber and Out” discussion on tech in the region and how U.K. businesses play a role in its growth.

BABCPHL has two events coming up in the coming weeks. One deals with global cyber security issues and the other explores the future economic relationship between the EU and the UK, including strategic direction; steps toward Brexit; legal implications; and employment and data protection/privacy laws.

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The BABCPHL recognizes our Club Level Members:

  • Almac
  • American Airlines
  • Bartlett
  • Cigna
  • Deloitte
  • Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
  • Duane Morris
  • EisnerAmper LLP
  • HSBC
  • Johnson, Kendall & Johnson, Inc.
  • McConnell Johnson Real Estate
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Law Firm of Pepper Hamilton
  • TD Bank
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic