Paul Myners, Baron Myners

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Paul Myners, Baron Myners, CBE (born 1 April 1948) is a British businessman and politician. He was the Financial Services Secretary (sometimes referred to as City Minister) in HM Treasury, the UK's finance ministry, during the Labour Government of Gordon Brown.[1][2][3] He held the position from October 2008 until May 2010, and was made a life peer in consequence of his appointment, as he was not an elected Member of Parliament. He also served on the Prime Minister's National Economic Council. He now sits as a crossbencher in the House of Lords.

The Lord Myners

Paul Myners 2013.jpg
Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury
In office
3 October 2008 – 13 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byMark Hoban (as City Minister)
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
16 October 2008
Life peerage
Personal details
Paul Myners

(1948-04-01) 1 April 1948 (age 71)
Political partyCrossbench
Spouse(s)Alison Macleod

Myners has worked in the financial sector since 1974. He has also held a number of third sector posts, including chairman of the trustees of the Tate and chairman of the Low Pay Commission. Immediately prior to his ministerial appointment he was chairman of the Guardian Media Group, publisher of The Guardian and The Observer newspapers, and chairman of Land Securities, the largest quoted property company in Europe at that time. He is a former chairman of Marks & Spencer and deputy chairman of PowerGen.

Background and personal life

Paul Myners was adopted at an early age by a Cornish family, and grew up in Truro, Cornwall.[4] His adopting father was a self-employed butcher and fisherman and his mother a hairdresser.[5] He attended Truro School, an independent Methodist school, on a scholarship. He graduated from the University of London, Institute of Education, with a first class honours degree in Education and a Certificate in Education (teaching qualification), and became a secondary school teacher in Wandsworth with the Inner London Education Authority (1971–72).[5] He left teaching after two years and subsequently joined The Daily Telegraph as a financial journalist moving into the financial sector in 1974 as a junior portfolio manager at N M Rothschild & Sons.[6]

Although never active in politics before his appointment as a finance minister, The Independent reported that "a Labour Cabinet insider" said of him that "for a City grandee he has a genuine instinct for social justice."[5] Myners has never donated to the Labour Party, but in 2007 he offered £12,700 to Gordon Brown's leadership campaign.[6]

He was first married to Tessa Stanford-Smith, a school teacher, and then to Alison Macleod, former chair of the Contemporary Art Society and trustee of The Royal Academy Trust.[7] They are separated. He has four daughters and a son.

He lives in London and has a cottage near Falmouth, Cornwall.[4]

City of London career

In 1985, he moved to pension fund manager Gartmore Group as chief executive, becoming chairman in 1987 and remaining there until 2001.[6] During this period the funds managed by Gartmore rose from £1.2bn in 1985 to £75bn in 2001,[5] and Myners earned an estimated £30m.[8] With his retirement from Gartmore in 2001 he chose to focus on a wider range of interests, acting as non-executive director and chairman in a number of companies and third sector institutions.[5]

He was a director at NatWest until it was taken over by Royal Bank of Scotland in the spring of 2000.[9] In 2000 he became Chairman of the Guardian Media Group, publisher of The Guardian and The Observer newspapers.[6]

In August 2010, Myners joined the board of RIT Capital Partners PLC, a substantial investment fund chaired and sponsored by Lord (Jacob) Rothschild, and later that year he became a Trustee of ARK, the charity supported by London's major hedge fund managers.

Public appointments

Prior to his October 2008 ministerial appointment he was a member of the Court of the Bank of England (director). He is a former Chairman of The Association of Investment Trust Companies and has also been a member of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and The Panel on Takeovers and Mergers. He has compiled reports on institutional investment (the Myners Report, questioning whether pension funds were acting in the interests of their beneficiaries), equity capital raising and governance for HM Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry [two reports before 1997 and three after]. This report gave rise to the Myners Principles which formed the basis for good stewardship of the investment of pension funds and endowments. The Myners Report also made the case for investors taking a more active interest in the ownership of investee companies ('activism') and argued that investment banks should no longer be paid for research by transaction commission, a practice which he argued was misaligned with good ownership and lacking in transparency and accountability. The latter has now been addressed by the EU's MIFID2. Between August 2007 and October 2008 he was Chairman of the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA), the body tasked under the Pensions Act 2007 with implementing the UK Government's plans for a new national pensions savings scheme for private sector workers on low and moderate incomes. He resigned this position on his appointment as a minister.[10] PADA morphed into NEST, the National Employment Savings Trust, the national workplace pension scheme established by the Government which will become the UK's largest pension scheme.

He also served on the Commission on English Prisons, established by the Howard League for Penal Reform, and the Green Fiscal Commission, and was a member of the Commission on Vulnerable Employment sponsored by the TUC, and a trustee of the Smith Institute, an education and public policy think tank. He is a past Chairman of the Trustees of the Tate and Chairman of the Low Pay Commission, a past trustee at the National Gallery and the Royal Academy Trust, trustee of the Charity Aid Foundation and served on the Advisory Council of St. Paul's Cathedral Institute. Myners resigned from these posts when he became a Minister .[5]

City Minister

On 3 October 2008 he was appointed Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (a position sometimes referred to as City Minister) in HM Treasury, in Prime Minister Gordon Brown's ministry.[11][6][7] He was created a Life Peer on 16 October 2008, gazetted as "Baron Myners, of Truro in the County of Cornwall".[12] Shortly after his appointment Myners underwent a "baptism of fire",[5] leading on the £500bn 2008 United Kingdom bank rescue package.

In February 2009 Lord Myners was at the centre of controversy concerning the amount of pension paid to Fred Goodwin, the former chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Myners said that he did not approve the details of Goodwin's pension settlement when it was arranged the previous autumn as part of the government's bailout of RBS, pointing out that this was a matter for the Board of RBS.[13] However, former RBS chairman Sir Tom McKillop disputed Myners' account in later evidence to the Treasury Select Committee, insisting that "every element" of Goodwin's financial compensation on leaving the bank had been fully discussed with Myners.[14] The Treasury Committee concluded in their report that "…it would have been far better if Lord Myners had given a stronger, clearer direction of Government requirements for a bank in receipt of public funds and had assured himself by demanding to be kept informed of the detailed negotiations that were taking place…. It would, we believe, have been open to Lord Myners to insist that Goodwin should have been dismissed…. The RBS Board had shown itself to be incompetent in the management of the bank, steering it towards catastrophe… We suspect that Lord Myners' City background, and naiveté as to the public perception of these matters, may have led him to place too much trust in an RBS Board."[15] The report of the Treasury Select Committee was criticized by many. The respected commentator Hugo Dixon wrote in the Daily Telegraph and the Breaking Views website that the Committee should have got ‘a sense of proportion’. He wrote that during the same weekend of the Goodwin pension issue Myners and two Treasury Civil Servants – John Kingman and Tom Scholar – ‘managed to pull off a remarkable feet in pretty much every way. Every other item in that list was ticked off. None was a trivial exercise. All items required attention to complex details; most required negotiations with third parties and banging heads together. Few other Ministers would have been able to accomplish what Myners did that weekend.’ In a separate paper to the Treasury Select Committee, Slaughter and May partner Charles Randell, who accompanied Myners at meetings with RBS noted that Myners had insisted that Goodwin should not be rewarded for failure and all action should be taken to mitigate cost. The RBS representatives at that meeting on 11th October did not indicate that the Board of RBS had significantly enhanced Goodwin’s pension entitlement 24hrs earlier as a reward for his contribution to the Bank.[16][17] The Chancellor of the Exchequer gave Myners responsibility for a number of major agencies sponsored by the Treasury including The Debt Management Office, National Savings & Investment, UK Financial Investments and the Asset Protection Agency. Myners also handled the routine ministerial interface between the Treasury and the Financial Services Authority.


On 8 June 2010, Myners made headlines with a speech he made in the Lords. He said, "We clearly need a policy of fiscal caution. It was right to support the economy during the global recession but there now needs to be fiscal adjustment, as evidenced by the last Government in the Fiscal Responsibility Act. There is nothing progressive about a Government which consistently spends more than it can raise in taxation, and certainly nothing progressive that endows generations to come with the liabilities incurred by the current generation without evidence of productive investment to match."[18]

Other positions

From 2002 to 2007 he was chairman of Aspen Insurance Holdings, a Bermuda-based insurance company.[19]

From 2006 to 2008 he was chairman of Liberty Ermitage, a fund-of-funds manager.[20]

In February 2011, Lord Myners became chairman and a partner of Autonomous Research LLP, an independent equity research firm. [21]

In June 2011, Lord Myners became chairman and a partner of Cevian Capital (UK) LLP, the UK arm of Cevian Capital, the largest active ownership (or activist) manager in Europe.[22]

In October 2012, Lord Myners was appointed President of the Howard League for Penal Reform, replacing the outgoing Lord Carlile of Berriew QC.[23][24]

In March 2013, Lord Myners joined the board of OJSC MegaFon, a London-listed company that is one of the three largest mobile operators in Russia.[25] Myners was appointed to represent the interest of independent shareholders and served on the Board until the end of 2017.

Lord Myners was the chairman of Platform Acquisition Holdings Ltd, which in May 2013 listed on the London Stock Exchange, raising $905 million earmarked for acquiring a target business expected to have an enterprise value of between $750 million and $2.5 billion. [26]

Platform was a Special Purpose Acquisition Company or SPAC (referred to in the USA as a blank cheque corporation). He subsequently Chaired a number of other SPACs, including one that acquired the worldwide operations of Burger King and another that bought the European operations of Birds Eye and Findus.

In December 2013 he joined the Board of the troubled Co-operative Group as senior independent director to produce and publish for the members an independent report on governance. The Co-op Group is the largest mutual in the UK with 8 million members and annual turnover of nearly £10 billion. It was brought close to collapse in the year by losses in its banking subsidiary. The Co op is the largest convenience store retailer in the UK. Myners limited his payment for this work to £1. He also resigned the Labour whip in the House of Lords and moved to sit with the non-politically aligned crossbenchers to avoid any conflict of interest between The Co-operative Party, an affiliated party to the Labour Party.[27] [28]

On 1 February 2015 Lord Myners was appointed Chair of the Court of Governors and Council of the London School of Economics and Political Science, succeeding Peter Sutherland.[29]

In 2016, Lord Myners took up role as University Chancellor of the University of Exeter from Baroness Benjamin.[30][31]

In October 2016, Lord Myners became Vice Chairman of Global Counsel, a public policy consultancy.[32] He is also Chairman of Edelman UK and a director of Windmill Hill Asset Management, a business Chaired by Lord Rothschild.

In March 2018, Lord Myners became an independent director of Rockefeller Capital Management.


Myners was awarded a CBE in 2001.[4] He also has an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the University of Exeter[4] and is a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College Oxford.[7] He is also an Executive Fellow of London Business School.[33]

In July 2010 he was elected chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Corporate Governance and in November 2010 he was admitted as an Honorary Fellow of the Association of Corporate Treasurers.[34]

See also


  1. ^ Wright, Ben (7 May 2014). "City Minister Myners Damns Co-op's 'Near Ruinous' Failure of Governance". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  2. ^ Mollins, Julie (14 December 2009). "Send in questions for city minister Paul Myners". Reuters. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Paul Myners CBE". HM Treasury (archived by The National Archive. Archived from the original on 8 April 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d "Bank crisis role for Lord Myners". The Herald. South West Media Group. 28 October 2008. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Paul Myners: Man with a plan The Independent, 11 October 2008
  6. ^ a b c d e Brook, Stephen "Paul Myners leaving GMG to take government role", The Guardian, 3 October 2008, retrieved 4 October 2008
  7. ^ a b c Paul Myners CBE Archived 1 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine HM Treasury Ministerial Profiles, retrieved 23 February 2009
  8. ^ Profile: Lord Myners Daily Telegraph, 28 February 2009
  9. ^ Payback time for culture of greed The Sunday Times, 1 March 2009
  10. ^ Milner, Leah (6 October 2008). "Paul Myners to leave PADA in ministerial move". Money Marketing. Archived from the original on 23 December 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
  11. ^ House of Commons, Treasury Committee. Banking Crisis: Reforming Corporate Governance and Pay in the City, Ninth Report of Session 2008–09. p. 42.
  12. ^ "No. 58860". The London Gazette. 23 October 2008. p. 16319.
  13. ^ Warner, Jeremy (27 February 2009). "Myners cited in Goodwin row". The Independent. London. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
  14. ^ "McKillop: No RBS pension 'ruse'". BBC News Online. 31 March 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
  15. ^ "House of Commons Treasury Committee; Banking Crisis: reforming corporate governance and pay in the City. Ninth Report of Session 2008–09" (PDF). May 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2009. Summary pp3-4; full text paragraphs 121–123
  16. ^ "Banking Crisis Vol III". House of Commons Treasury Committee.
  17. ^ "Lord Myners' critics need a sense of proportion over RBS and Sir Fred Goodwin". The Telegraph.
  18. ^ Hansard 8 June 2010 : Column 625 Lords Hansard text for 8 June 2010 (pt 0005)
  19. ^ "Jones to Succeed Myners as Aspen Board Chairman". 19 April 2007.
  20. ^ Burgess, Kate (10 March 2006). "Myners back in fund management at Liberty Ermitage". Archived from the original on 29 June 2013 – via Financial Times.
  21. ^ "Autonomous to name Myners chairman". Financial Times.
  22. ^ "Activism advocate Myners to join Cevian". Financial Times.
  23. ^ "Howard League for Penal Reform announces new President". Howard League for Penal Reform. Archived from the original on 22 November 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  24. ^ "Official Biography of Lord Myners at". Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  25. ^[dead link]
  26. ^ "Platform Acquisition Holdings Ltd Initial Public Offering – Replacement". The Wall Street Journal.
  27. ^ Treanor, Jill (16 January 2014). "Lord Myners to undertake review of way Co-operative Group is run" – via The Guardian.
  28. ^ Quinn, James (12 December 2013). "Lord Myners appointed to Co-op board to review governance". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  29. ^ Editor, LSE Web. "Lord Myners appointed LSE Chair of Governors - 2014 - Around LSE archives - Around LSE - News and media - Home".CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  30. ^ "University of Exeter".
  31. ^ "University of Exeter".
  32. ^ "Global Counsel's new senior appointments".
  33. ^ "Executive Education courses - London Business School".
  34. ^ "Lord Myners, the Hester Bonus and corporate governance". Legal Aware. Retrieved 19 June 2013.

External links