Blank makes comeback as UKTI adviser

FORMER Lloyds Group chairman Sir Victor Blank has been brought in to advise the government on attracting overseas investment to the UK.

Sir Victor, who resigned from the Lloyds board last year in the wake of its ill-fated takeover of HBOS, has taken a seat on a panel set up by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and business secretary Lord Mandelson.

Under the umbrella of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), a government quango, the unpaid team of industry figures will help the government take a “systematic and strategic” approach to securing investment in the UK from international firms.

It is Sir Victor’s first significant role since stepping down from Lloyds. The move will raise eyebrows in the City as his exit from the taxpayer-funded bank was thought to have been hastened by pressure from UK Financial
Investments, the state body responsible for looking after the government’s shareholding.

Other names on the panel include Dragons’ Den investor James Caan, former US ambassador John Danilovich and Lucy Neville-Rolfe, executive director of Tesco.

UKTI managing director Caoimhe Buckley said: “We are looking to leverage the experience of the panel so the government can strengthen its relationships with potential and existing investors.”

Sir Victor has already worked as an overseas business ambassador for the government for some years. His work with UKTI will be similar to that undertaken by Sir Digby Jones, the former director of the CBI, who uses his contacts to advise the quango.