Kingman to go private

July 28, 2009

John KingmanSo John Kingman is leaving UK Financial Investments “in due course” to spend more time with the private sector. That, at least, is the line put out by Robert Peston, the BBC reporter who could sometimes be confused for his personal press officer, on his blog.

As Pesto observes:

He’s wanted to move into the private sector for a couple of years – and said as much to the Treasury’s permanent secretary, Nick Macpherson, last summer.

That Kingman is leaving so soon into his mission may, as Pesto observes, occasion surprise. He slyly implies that Kingman is leaving to avoid political interference by the beastly Tories should they win office.

In reality, he’s probably moving on because he rightly perceives that it is going to be a long and thankless slog at UKFI. The shares will take years to sell, and in the meantime UKFI will probably be the whipping boy for a government that wants to get the best price for its shares while urging banks to lend more, protect consumers, etc.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing is what Kingman does next. Presumably in this case the private sector is probably a euphemism for the City. UKFI is conducting a beauty parade to pick a panel of banks to advise it on its shareholdings.  It would be a bit weird were Kingman to audition City firms during working hours and then entertain job offers from them in his lunch break.

Kingman is still employed by the Treasury (he is seconded to UKFI). Maybe the mandarins should take a quick squint at the gardening leave provisions in his contract, depending on where he chooses to go.

(Photo credit: UKFI)

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