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Grimstone keen for new public-private sector role

Gerry Grimstone
Lord (Gerry) Grimstone chairing a meeting of Standard Life

Lord Grimstone, former chairman of Standard Life, said he is still keen to play a part in bringing the public and private sectors together.

He was among more than 50 government ministers and advisers who resigned from the government this week, stepping down as minister for investment at the Department for International Trade, a role that involved travelling the world drumming up overseas investment.

His supporters told Sky News he had resigned from Boris Johnson’s government, not because he could not work with him but because without his support he had no option but to leave.

Unlike those who criticised the outgoing Prime Minister, the City grandee was quick to praise him for his “tremendous support” that had allowed his team to succeed in winning close to £50 billion of inward investment since his appointment in March 2020.

“The whole thing is incredibly sad,” he told The Times. “I was brought in by the PM to do a job and he’s given me tremendous support. He employed and equipped me and allowed me to set up a fantastic team. But with him stepping down things are different. I’m kind of old fashioned in that respect. I’m not a career politician.”

His close ties to the Middle East paved the way for a series of sovereign investment partnerships with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, with state investment funds pledging billions of pounds to invest in the UK.

He set up the Office for Investment, which was established to coordinate negotiations with major foreign investors more effectively. He oversaw arrangements for last year’s Global Investment Summit, which drew prominent financiers from around the world.

Grimstone, now 72, said the unpaid role at the DIT had in many respects been the culmination of a life’s work straddling the public and private sectors and he would be keen to do something similar.

He is the son of a communist carpet-layer from south London, and as a civil servant in the 1970s he was part of the team behind Margaret Thatcher’s privatisations.

Leaving for the private sector he worked at Schroders and Barclays where he became deputy chairman before assuming the chairmanship of Standard Life (now Abrdn).

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