A little update on John Browne’s activities: Lord Browne now works for the Coalition government as ‘lead Non-Executive Director’ on the Cabinet Office board. His job description is ‘improving governance’ in Whitehall and he does this by recruiting business leaders to serve on government departmental boards. His appointees include Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline (on an unrelated note, Browne used to be a non-executive Director of SmithKline Beecham) and Ian Davis, once on the board of BP.
This is not the only way in which Lord Browne, ‘independent’ lord, is working with Conservatives. For his day job Lord Browne is Managing Director of Riverstone Holdings, a private equity firm specialising in the energy and power sectors. Riverstone Holdings works in partnership with the Carlyle Group, whose European Chair is John Major.
Lord Browne has just received another appointment (busy man) to the International Advisory Board of the Blavatnik School of Government, which will “bring together a distinguished group of women and men who have achieved international renown for their leadership and contributions to public life in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.” He will help provide the Oxford University school with “a genuinely international perspective and strategic advice informed by practical experience of government.”
Browne and Blavatnik – he who funded the school – are not complete strangers to each other. Blavatnik, a Russian-American sometimes resident in Britain, made his money in fossil fuels in Russia. He made a large part of his fortune selling Russian oil company TNK, which he and his partners acquired in privatisation auctions. It was sold to BP under John Browne.