Richard Howitt (politician)

Richard Stuart Howitt (born 5 April 1961) is a British Labour Party politician, and a former[1] Chief Executive Officer of the International Integrated Reporting Council. For five years prior to becoming CEO of the IIRC, he acted as a voluntary IIRC Ambassador, promoting Integrated Reporting within the policy and business communities. He took over from the previous CEO Paul Druckman.[2] He was Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for 22 years between 1994 and 2016.

Richard Howitt

Richard Howitt speaking at the 2016 Labour Party Conference
Cambridgeshire County Councillor
for Petersfield
Assumed office
6 May 2021
Preceded byLinda Jones
Majority878 (22.5%)
Member of the European Parliament
for the East of England
Essex South (1994-1999)
In office
9 June 1994  2 November 2016
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byAlex Mayer
Personal details
Born (1961-04-05) 5 April 1961 (age 60)
Reading, Berkshire
Political partyPES / Labour
Alma materLady Margaret Hall, Oxford


Howitt was born in Reading, Berkshire. He was brought up in a single-parent family, in a council house, and went to a comprehensive school.[3] He graduated with a BA degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford in 1982 and has a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies from the University of Hertfordshire.[4]

After leaving university, he worked for four years in the voluntary sector and eight years for a disability organisation.

Political activity

Howitt served as a councillor on Harlow District Council from 1983 to 1995, including three years as Leader of the council.[4] Here he spearheaded some groundbreaking work assessing local government's environmental impact.[5] He was the Labour Party candidate in Billericay in the 1987 general election.[4]

Howitt was elected as an MEP to the European Parliament, representing the Essex South constituency, and served for the East of England constituency from 1999 to 2016.

Howitt is a key architect of the EU's non-financial information directive, one of the biggest transformations in corporate disclosure anywhere in the world. He was rapporteur on corporate reporting-related issues, including social responsibility, for many years. On this topic he has been described as a "trailblazer".[5]

As lead-MEP on corporate responsibility, Mr Howitt has represented the EU on many missions worldwide, travelling extensively in Asia, Africa and the Americas. He has represented European interests in numerous international initiatives, including the UN Business and Human Rights Forum and the OECD Forum on Responsible Business Conduct.[6]

Howitt helped to negotiate a £22 million European Union fund to help finance food banks in the UK, but in 2013 the UK government refused to accept the funds. Howitt stated:

It is very sad that our government is opposing this much-needed help for foodbanks on the basis that it is a national responsibility, when in reality it has no intention of providing the help itself. The only conclusion is that Conservative anti-European ideology is being put before the needs of the most destitute and deprived in our society.[7]

Howitt was a member of the Labour Party's National Policy Forum between 1994 and 2016.[4] He supported Owen Smith in the 2016 Labour Party leadership election.[8]

In September 2016, Howitt announced his resignation from the European Parliament to become chief executive of the International Integrated Reporting Council. The Labour candidate next on the party list from the 2014 European Elections, Alex Mayer, replaced him as MEP.[9][10]

In May 2021, he was elected as a member of Cambridgeshire County Council.


  1. "International Integrated Reporting Council CEO Richard Howitt steps down". Accounting Today. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  2. "IIRC appoints Richard Howitt as new chief executive - Public Finance".
  3. "biography". Richard Howitt. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  4. "Richard Howitt". European Parliament. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  5. "Reporting lines: interview with International Integrated Reporting Council chief Richard Howitt | Public Finance". Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  6. "Richard Howitt | Integrated Reporting". Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  7. Watt, Nicholas (17 December 2013). "Government under fire for rejecting European Union food bank funding". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  8. Smith, Mikey; Bloom, Dan (20 July 2016). "Which MPs are nominating Owen Smith in the Labour leadership contest?". Mirror. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  9. Conor Pope (5 September 2016). "Senior MEP Richard Howitt to quit Brussels for financial services job". LabourList. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  10. Sophie Day (27 October 2016). "East of England MEP bids farewall to European Parliament role". The Hunts Post. Retrieved 8 November 2016.