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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Simon English

L&G boss could be just the business leader Keir Starmer needs

In City terms, Nigel Wilson is a rare bird. There’s no need to mistake him for a nursery school teacher to see that he is public- spirited.

His pay, about £4 million a year, might lead some to dismiss him as just another financier whose main interests are his own.

But long before he became Sir Nigel, he was outspoken about the need for political reform to prevent Britain becoming the under-invested, under-paid basket case it now is.

Lately, the fuss in financial circles is about big companies seeking to list in New York or Asia or anywhere other than London.

Yeah, he might say were he minded, I told you that would happen.

He has been warning about the lack of investment in things public and private for years.

“We are pretty good at start-ups, and pretty hopeless at scale ups,” he told me today.

CEOs are normally very loath to criticise governments. Wilson is bowing out soon so has more freedom than most, but he has never been accused of being shy about any of this.

There may have been a tendency to think that City old-timers like Wilson were not the answer to the problems of the future.

To think that the supposed tech geniuses would figure things out. Too often they have turned out to be false prophets, in some cases with false profits.

Wilson claims he has no interest in a political career. But I reckon he just needs some persuading.

If Keir Starmer hasn’t tapped him up yet, that should be his very next call.

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