David Cameron to Lord Hogan-Howe: the figures hired by Greensill

We take a look at the political heavyweights employed to bolster Greensill Capital’s reputation

Greensill Capital’s founder Lex Greensill bolstered his company’s reputation by hiring political heavyweights and Westminster officials to help lead and advise the business.

We take a look at some of the most influential figures hired to promote Greensill Capital before its collapse in March.

Lex Greensill – Greensill founder and chief executive

The 44-year-old Australian melon farmer turned City banker founded Greensill in 2011 and was brought into Downing Street by the late cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood. He was introduced to a number of figures around Whitehall, where he was reportedly free to pitch his financial projects during David Cameron’s premiership.

Greensill would later recruit a number of former Whitehall officials to his firm, including Cameron, senior civil servant Bill Crothers, former home secretary and Labour peer David Blunkett, and former homelessness tsar Dame Louise Casey.

David Cameron, former UK prime minister – special adviser to Greensill’s board

Cameron was hired as a special adviser in 2018 – two years after he stepped down as prime minister. According to the 1,700 word statement that Cameron released on Sunday, the role involved providing geopolitical advice, helping to win new business and helping Greensill plan for international expansion.

Cameron lobbied a string of Whitehall officials last year – including texting the chancellor, Rishi Sunak – in hopes of securing Greensill access to the UK’s largest emergency Covid loans scheme, which would have involved bending the rules. He also took Greensill to a “private drink” with Matt Hancock, the health secretary, in 2019 to promote the company’s wage advance app, Earnd, for use in the NHS.

Julie Bishop, former Australian foreign ministersenior adviser to the Greensill board

Bishop served as Australia’s minister for foreign affairs between 2013 and 2015, and was the first woman to hold the role.

She joined Greensill in December 2019, becoming a member of its international advisory board and chair of its Asia-Pacific group. However, her decision to promote supply chain finance drew criticism from small business advocates, who said it encouraged big business to delay paying suppliers, who in turn had pay a fee for the service.

Bill Crothers, former top civil servant – Greensill director

Crothers worked in Whitehall for eight years, including as the government’s chief commercial officer overseeing £40bn of annual government spending.

It emerged on Tuesday that Crothers started advising Greensill two months before he left the civil service in November 2015 – which was approved by the Cabinet Office. He became a Greensill board member in August 2016.

David Brierwood, former crown representative to the Cabinet Office – Greensill director

Like Lex Greensill, former Morgan Stanley banker Brierwood was brought into the Cabinet Office as a crown representative, advising on government buying and its management of suppliers. According to his LinkedIn profile, Brierwood was hired by Greensill two months after joining the Cabinet Office in October 2014.

David Blunkett, former home secretary – adviser to Greensill’s wage advance business, Earnd

The Labour peer was appointed on to the new “expert advisory board” of Greensill’s wage advance provider, Earnd, in November 2020. Blunkett served in Tony Blair’s cabinet from 1997, including as the work and pensions secretary, education and employment secretary, and home secretary.

Dame Louise Casey, former homelessness tsaradviser to Greensill’s wage advance business, Earnd

Dame Louise Casey, who worked in the civil service for 20 years, was the director general of the troubled families unit under Cameron, and was the former homelessness tsar under Boris Johnson.

She was appointed on to the Earnd advisory board alongside Blunkett in November last year.

Lord Hogan-Howe, former Metropolitan police commissioneradviser to Greensill’s wage advance business, Earnd

Bernard Hogan-Howe was a Metropolitan police commissioner for six years until 2017. It emerged on Wednesday that he first became a paid consultant, advising Greensill’s wage advance app, Earnd, in May 2020. That was the same month that he joined the Cabinet Office as a non-executive director. At the time, the government’s business contracts division, the Crown Commercial Service, was welcoming bids for contracts related to supply chain finance – Greensill’s speciality.

He said in a statement that he “advised on product and organisational development but not on opportunities in the Cabinet Office or government” and “played no part at all in the procurement process for the contracts”.

The company also appointed a number of influential City figures, including:

  • Chairman Maurice Thompson: WH Smith director and former Citibank UK chief executive

  • Director Tracy Clarke: Standard Chartered’s former head of private banking

  • Senior adviser Patricia F Russo: Hewlett-Packard Enterprises chairman, and General Motors board member


Kalyeena Makortoff

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
David Cameron fails to respond over Greensill Capital claims
Sources say former PM met with insurance officer named in investigation into now collapsed bank

Kalyeena Makortoff and Ben Butler

16, Mar, 2021 @7:42 PM

Article image
MPs urge Cameron to make public Greensill lobbying texts to Sunak
Former prime minister told to release full texts he sent to chancellor at start of the pandemic last year

Kalyeena Makortoff

20, Apr, 2021 @1:04 PM

Article image
Greensill: the scale of David Cameron’s lobbying texts revealed
Some of the messages sent by the former PM and his staff to Gove, Sunak and other top officials

Rupert Neate

11, May, 2021 @5:10 PM

Article image
FCA investigates Greensill as David Cameron’s lobbying texts are made public
Financial regulator announces move as 56 of ex-PM’s messages to Rishi Sunak, Michael Gove and others are released

Rupert Neate Wealth correspondent

11, May, 2021 @1:42 PM

Article image
David Cameron lobbied Lloyds director to save Greensill pharmacy deal
Bank continued funding supply-chain finance scheme for NHS pharmacies after appeal to Tory peer

Rupert Neate

24, Nov, 2021 @11:43 AM

Article image
Second Cabinet Office adviser hired by Greensill while in civil service
David Brierwood joined David Cameron’s government in 2014 and two months later was recruited to Greensill Capital

Kalyeena Makortoff and Jessica Elgot

15, Apr, 2021 @7:56 PM

Article image
Timeline: David Cameron and Greensill Capital
As the former PM breaks his silence over lobbying for Greensill, we look back at the key moments in the saga

Nicola Slawson

12, Apr, 2021 @2:12 PM

Article image
David Cameron texted Rishi Sunak to get Covid loans for Greensill, says report
Former prime minister said to have sent multiple messages to chancellor to access funds for doomed lender

Kalyeena Makortoff Banking correspondent

21, Mar, 2021 @6:47 PM

Article image
David Cameron kept pushing Bank and Treasury to risk £20bn to help Greensill
Former prime minister sent string of emails to Bank officials and argued firm should be a priority for Treasury funding

Kalyeena Makortoff, Rajeev Syal and Jessica Elgot

22, Apr, 2021 @8:02 PM

Article image
David Cameron urged to address reports he made $10m from Greensill
Labour says if figure is wrong as ex-PM’s spokesperson has suggested, then he should set record straight

Aubrey Allegretti Political correspondent

10, Aug, 2021 @4:13 PM