Role call: the former ministers who found private sector jobs

Rob Davies and Georgina Quach
·7 min read

David Cameron’s lobbying efforts on behalf of his employer Greensill Capital have shone a spotlight on the often lucrative corporate work on offer to former cabinet members and junior ministers with valuable experience of government and a bulging contacts book.

While the former prime minister’s overtures to serving ministers are unusual in that they prompted an unprecedented formal inquiry, there is nothing new about senior politicians taking private sector jobs after they leave office. Indeed, some of Cameron’s closest allies and cabinet appointees have been among the most enthusiastic corporate jobseekers.

George Osborne

Last cabinet job: chancellor of the exchequer

Osborne has taken at least 10 private sector jobs since leaving office, including a £650,000-a-year role with BlackRock, the world’s largest fund manager, and the editorship of the Evening Standard. He abandoned most of his broad employment portfolio earlier this year to concentrate on being a full-time banker with Robey Warshaw.

Philip Hammond

Last cabinet job: chancellor of the exchequer

Before Hammond was Theresa May’s chancellor, he was Cameron’s foreign secretary. After leaving the House of Commons in 2019, he sought advice from the government’s advisory committee on business appointments (Acoba) before accepting more than a dozen positions. He became a partner at the energy investment firm Buckthorn, an adviser to the banking startup OakNorth and a non-executive at the packaging company Ardagh. His own consultancy, Matrix Partners, has worked for the Kuwait Investment Office, Canary Wharf Group and the Japanese bank Nomura.

Nick Clegg

Last cabinet job: deputy prime minister

The former deputy PM joined Facebook as its head of global public affairs in 2018, moving to Silicon Valley for the role. According to US visa data, Facebook paid Clegg an annual salary of $656,000 (£475,000) when he took the job, although that could have since gone up and does not include bonuses.

Amber Rudd

Last cabinet job: home secretary

The Cambridge cybersecurity firm Darktrace, which is gearing up for a lucrative stock market float, recruited Rudd as senior adviser last May. As home secretary, Rudd pushed for an industry crackdown on radicalising material on the internet. Rudd was energy and climate change secretary from 2015 to 2016 in the Cameron government. She chairs the international advisory board of the Norwegian energy company Equinor, and is co-chair for climate and energy at Public Policy Projects. Rudd also offers “strategic advice” to clients of the City PR firm Teneo as of 2020 and has also advised Pool Reinsurance, insurers for terrorism risk.

Greg Barker

Last cabinet job: minister for energy and climate change

One of the entries for the former energy minister lists his address as 8 Oktyabrskaya Street, Kalingrad (sic). That’s thanks to his directorship of EN+, the Anglo-Russian energy and metals company founded by Oleg Deripaska, whose yacht-based encounters with Osborne and Peter Mandelson proved controversial in 2008. He is also a director of the Electric Vehicle Network.

Chris Grayling

Last cabinet job: transport secretary

Grayling, who famously hired a ferry company with no ferries to ease Brexit congestion, took a £100,000 job advising Hutchison Ports, the owner of container hubs including Felixstowe. While transport secretary, Grayling had taken part in an event at the same port.

Jo Johnson

Last cabinet job: minister for universities, science, research and innovation

Boris Johnson’s brother has sought advice from Acoba about 10 appointments since leaving office. Jobs include advisory roles with the investment firm Seminal Capital Holdings and Skyrora, a private space company.

Andrew Lansley

Last cabinet job: health secretary

The former health secretary, one of the few cabinet ministers to be the subject of a breakout rap hit, stepped down as MP in 2015 and took a job with the Swiss pharmaceuticals firm Roche the same year. He has also drawn on his experience in health and politics to advise the private equity groups Blackstone and Bain & Company.

Michael Fallon

Last cabinet job: defence secretary

After leaving government amid sexual harassment allegations, Fallon became chairman of the property developer Avanton and deputy chairman of the Kurdistan-focused oil explorer Genel. Fallon accepted consultancy work for Wilton Engineering Services despite having been involved in the award of a contract, as energy minister, that the company stood to gain from. He has taken roles with the private equity firm Investcorp, the industrials business Klesch & Company and a firm called Infinite Percent.

Nicky Morgan

Last cabinet job: culture secretary

She is a senior adviser to the PR firm Grayling, with whom she had meetings while in government. She also acts as a consultant to the law firm Travers Smith.

Justine Greening

Last cabinet job: education secretary

This year, she took up a non-executive position with the holiday firm On The Beach. Her salary has yet to be disclosed but others who have held the position have earned between £60,000 and £100,000, depending on responsibilities.

William Hague

Last cabinet job: leader of the House of Commons

Cameron’s former deputy – and the former Tory leader – is a non-executive director of the financial markets firm Intercontinental Exchange, an adviser at the City PR firm Teneo, a consultant at Citigroup bank and chairman of the international advisory board at the law firm Linklaters.

Sajid Javid

Last cabinet job: chancellor of the exchequer

Shortly after resigning from the Treasury in 2020, Javid accepted a £150,000-a-year position advising Wall Street investment bank JP Morgan, reprising his pre-politics role as an investment banker. He also earns £151,835 a year advising the Silicon Valley firm C3.ai for up to 86 hours a year. He continues as an MP.

Greg Hands

Last cabinet job: trade minister

He is back as trade minister now, a role he previously held under Theresa May, who demoted him from chief secretary to the Treasury, the position he held under Cameron. Between ministerial stints, he advised the French bank BNP Paribas.

Francis Maude

Last cabinet job: trade minister

The man who led Cameron’s government efficiency savings drive has been very efficient at finding work. Roles include the chairmanship of the marketing agency Cogent Elliott, the advisory board of the corporate intelligence group GPW and – like Philip Hammond – the advisory board of OakNorth bank.

David Lidington

Last cabinet job: lord chancellor/justice secretary

Europe minister throughout Cameron’s tenure, which ended with an unplanned Brexit vote. He has taken roles with firms including the professional services business Mitie and the market research outfit Cicero/AMO.

David Willetts

Last job: universities minister

Lord Willetts sought advice from Acoba on 11 occasions for roles across science and academia after leaving office in 2014. Last month he joined the cybersecurity firm Darktrace as non-executive director, in the run-up to its stock market float. He is on the board of the Biotech Growth Trust, a venture capital fund investing in life sciences.

Others

Both the former Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones and the former armed forces minister Mark Lancaster sought advice from Acoba before giving advice to GFG Alliance, Sanjeev Gupta’s steel group, which has been swept into the heart of the Greensill affair. Esther McVey accepted roles with Floreat Group and Hume Brophy after leaving her role as housing minister. Cameron’s former policy director Lord O’Shaughnessy became an external adviser at the private equity group Bain and Co and the PR group Portland Communications. David Gauke, who held ministerial roles at the Treasury, is head of public policy at the law firm Macfarlanes. The former chief whip Andrew Mitchell advises the South African bank Investec. A non-executive directorship with Leo Group pays former communities minister Eric Pickles £40,000 a year. Lord Strathclyde was leader of the House of Lords under Cameron. He chairs the private bank Banks & Clients, is a director of Galena Asset Management and the chairman of Raytheon UK, part of the US firm that makes bombs used by the Saudi Arabian army in Yemen.