Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Friday, 27 February 2009

Profile: Lord Myners

Downing Street has said Gordon Brown has full confidence in City minister Lord Myners, who has found himself at the centre of a row about the 16m pension pot awarded to ex-RBS chief Sir Fred Goodwin.

Lord Myners
Lord Myners started his career as a teacher

Paul Myners has been one of Mr Brown's closest and must trusted advisers for nearly a decade and was one of a select band of City experts drafted into his team as the prime minister battled to stop the collapse of the banking system last autumn.

An expert in pension funds and former chairman of retail giant Marks and Spencer, he was elevated to the House of Lords in Mr Brown's October reshuffle as financial services minister.

His relationship with Mr Brown stretches back to 2000, when he carried out an influential review of pension fund regulation for the then chancellor.

He has also spoken out against excess salaries and bonuses on a number of occasions.

In 2001, he noted there was a "very widespread distaste" at large pay-offs to sacked City executives and suggested compensation should be based on shares held, not salary.

'Cronyism'

Last month he attacked some of his former City colleagues telling the Times: "I have met more masters of the universe than I would like to, people who were grossly over-rewarded and did not recognise that. Some of that is pretty unpalatable."

In 2007, he backed Gordon Brown's bid for the Labour leadership, donating thousands of pounds to the campaign, one of several donors to have held senior positions on government reviews - prompting Tory complaints of "cronyism".

He hit back, saying he was not "paid a penny" for the reviews he had carried out.

And he delivered a stern rebuke to one of his critics, Tory frontbencher Chris Grayling, telling him: "Your effort to impugn the integrity of people who seek to become involved in public service ill behoves you."

I came into the City at a breaking point
Lord Myners

As well as being a former chairman of M&S, he also served as chief executive to pension fund manager Gartmore, director of hedge fund GLG, chairman of media owner the Guardian Media Group and property services company Land Securities - as well as working for the Tate Gallery and the Low Pay Commission.

During the titanic battle to fend off a takeover of M&S by billionaire Philip Green, he became a well-known City double act with the retailer's chief executive Stuart Rose.

He became temporary chairman in May 2004, and was credited with taking the tough decisions - such as forcing out M&S's previous chief executive, Roger Holmes, and bringing in Mr Rose - that enabled M&S to remain independent.

A native of Cornwall, he spent his early years in a children's home. He has attributed his ambition to the couple who adopted him - a Cornish butcher and a hairdresser. He won a scholarship to the local independent school in Truro and did a degree in education.

He began his career as a teacher in south London in the 1960s - before becoming a financial journalist at the Daily Telegraph and later moving to investment bank Rothschild as a junior portfolio manager, rising through the ranks to become its managing director in Hong Kong. He joined Gartmore as chief executive in 1985.

He told Management Today in 2006: 'I came into the City at a breaking point.

"For the first time it was possible for a non-top public school, non-suavely spoken person to have a career that wasn't limited. Ten years previously it wouldn't have been possible for someone like me to have got out of the back office."

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SEE ALSO
Brown vows to claw pension back
27 Feb 09 |  UK Politics
In full: Sir Fred Goodwin's letter
26 Feb 09 |  UK Politics
In full: Lord Myners' reply
26 Feb 09 |  UK Politics
History: Royal Bank of Scotland
26 Feb 09 |  Scotland

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