Multi-tasking Myners

There seems to be some confusion over Lord Paul Myners' role within the UK government. Officially, the veteran businessman was appointed Financial Services Secretary in October 2008 – just in time to work on the UK's emergency £500 billion (€548 billion; $820 billion) bank rescue package.

Amid that baptism of fire, he became embroiled in controversy when RBS, one of the bailout beneficiaries, claimed he had approved a huge pension payout for its former chairman Sir Fred Goodwin – a payout that the UK public didn't view as especially merited. Amid the catcalls, Myners protested that he didn't think he had approved it at all – that it had been, in his view, a decision entirely for the RBS board. When a UK Treasury Committee criticised Myners for allegedly misunderstanding his role, he was dubbed by London Mayor Boris Johnson the “new Minister for Major Banking Disasters”.

Now, he seems to have been granted a third title. At the recent British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association conference in London, Myners was referred to as the “Minister for Unintended Consequences” by Conservative party House of Lords member David James in a speech that criticised him for not putting more pressure on Lloyds Banking Group (another bailout recipient) to lend more to small businesses and sell stakes in companies that it owns to private equity firms.

Apparently, Myners – who was also present at the conference – was not in the room when James was speaking. Bet he was delighted when the details were related to him afterwards.