Sir Edward Julian Udny-Lister (25 October 1949) is a British civil servant, political strategist and former politician. He has served as Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Chief Strategic Advisor since July 2019, having been Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor for Policy and Planning under Johnson during the latter's time as Mayor of London.
|Prime Minister's Chief Strategic Advisor|
|Assumed office |
24 July 2019
|Prime Minister||Boris Johnson|
|Preceded by||Position established|
(Gavin Barwell as Downing Street Chief of Staff)
25 October 1949
|Spouse(s)||Eileen Elizabeth McHugh (m.1979)|
|Education||London Nautical School|
Early life and educationEdit
Lister joined Mather and Platt Alarms in 1969 as a trainee, and rose to become Commercial Director. In 1979 he moved to Britannia Security as Sales Manager.
In 1997 ADT was purchased by Tyco. From 1997 to 2007 Lister was Director, Government Relations, for Tyco Fire & Security. In the early years of this period Tyco was known for its very hard-driving and cost-conscious operational management culture, under Dennis Kozlowski.
Public service careerEdit
From 1992 to 2011, Lister was the leader of Wandsworth Council. His approach was regarded as congruent with Thatcherism, and he supported adapting policy to local conditions. Critics have called Lister a 'right-wing uber-privatiser' who privatised street cleaning and refuse collection, and sold off council housing. Wandsworth was one of the earliest councils to take such actions. Between 2007 and 2010 only 11% of the "affordable" homes built in Wandsworth were for social rent – the lowest in the whole of London. Many ex-council homes became owned by concentrated and absent private landlords. Lister has been criticised for defending bankers and other wealthy Londoners, saying it would be "really bad news" for London if they left. He has similarly been criticised for high focus on cutting costs. Others have said he made Wandsworth the most successful value for money local authority in the country, with the country's lowest council tax charge and top satisfaction ratings from its residents. In 2019, Wandsworth's council tax remained the lowest in the UK, which the council ascribed to continued cost focus.
In 2008 Lister carried out a financial audit of City Hall finances for Mayor Boris Johnson. In 2011, following the death of Simon Milton, Lister was appointed as Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor for Policy and Planning at the Greater London Authority, under Boris Johnson who was Mayor of London. He served until 2016. One area of focus was long-term infrastructure planning.
After leaving City Hall, he took up the role of Chairman of Homes England, and also served as a non-executive director at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including during the time that Boris Johnson served as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and other board roles.
In August 2019 Lister stepped down from his position at Homes England in order to focus on his newly-created role as Chief Strategy Advisor to Prime Minister Johnson. As well as detailed operational management, Lister played an important role in some aspects of Brexit diplomacy. Lister is believed to have indicated that he may not stay in the role after Brexit is resolved.
Approach and key skillsEdit
Lister has said he desires to understand the operations he is responsible for; "If I'm to do the job properly, I've got to understand it, how it works, what makes it tick." His focus is on value; "Firstly, it's got to be about value for money, that's absolutely essential." His key skill is operational delivery; "I just want to get the thing done. That's what I'm good at. The organising and doing and making it happen."
Lister is regarded as well-organised, and adept at managing underlying relationships.
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