EX-CITY minister Lord Myners this week added a second non-executive role to his portfolio, with his appointment as a partner and chairman of Autonomous Research, the independent research firm. And he is thought to have a third on the way as chairman of billionaire Nicolas Berggruen’s new acquisition vehicle which is seeking to raise around £700m from listing in London. The German-American investor, along with business partner Martin Franklin, is offering shares in the vehicle at a fixed price of 10 pounds each, two sources said..
But unlike many of his ex-ministerial peers, Myners’ move is not his first experience of City work – his pre-political career included stints at Gartmore, NatWest and the Guardian Media Group.
His experience means that Myners might appreciate more than most the lucrative nature of the non-exec roles available to ex-ministers at a loose end. The going rate for a top-rate ex-Cabinet member, such as Peter Mandelson, for a semi-formal advisory role is a cool £200,000 a year for a couple of days a month. Those at the bottom can still bag about £50,000 for one day a week.
Companies are often keen to get ex-ministers on board for a variety of reasons but the most salient is usually a bulging contacts book.
Ken Brotherston, chief executive of executive search firm Kinsey Allen told City A.M.: “There’s a fairly well-beaten path [into the City] for ministers with lots of contacts, helping to oil the wheels and effect introductions. It’s about the profile, the contacts and the ability to help things happen.”
In addition, ex-ministers offer companies an insight into the practical workings of government, helping them predict the next regulatory threat. Kit Bingham of executive search firm Odgers Berndtson says an ex-minister’s main marketable skill is “knowledge of the machine. It’s helping with forecasting”.
POLITICS AND THE SQUARE MILE
FOUR EX-MINISTERS CASHING IN WITH CITY ROLES AFTER THEIR GOVERNMENT POSTS
1 Second to his old boss Tony Blair, Lord Peter Mandelson is about as big a gun as they come in the ex-ministerial world. He recently scooped up an informal advisory role at Lazard, likely to be worth six figures a year.
2 Baroness Shriti Vadera recently snapped up two non-exec roles at BHP Billiton and AstraZeneca after two years in ministerial roles that included stints in the business department and cabinet office until 2009. Before joining government, she worked in investment banking.
3 After six years in Blair’s Cabinet and two years as health secretary, Patricia Hewitt cashed in with advisory roles at Alliance Boots and Bupa. She was then caught out by a Panorama sting in 2010 giving lobbying advice.
4 Former education secretary Ruth Kelly spent three years as a junior minister and two years in the Cabinet until 2008 before quitting as an MP in May last year. She quickly scooped up a lucrative job leading HSBC’s strategy unit, reportedly for a six figure salary.