The Business on: Sir Ronald Cohen, Adviser, Big Society Bank
Tuesday 15 February 2011
The PM's big idea?
Well, sort of. The social investment bank fits in with David Cameron's big society theme, but it's an idea that has been around for years. In fact, Sir Ronald has more claim to the notion than the Prime Minister – a few years back he chaired the inquiry into banks' unclaimed assets that suggested they be put to this use.
What are his qualifications?
Apart from a longstanding involvement with social investment – going back to well before the idea was fashionable – Sir Ronald knows the City inside out. He made his name in the private equity industry, where he was one of the founding partners of Apax. He and Jon Moulton, then of Alchemy, were the first people inducted into the "Private Equity Hall of Fame" when some bright spark came up with the idea in 2002.
He sounds like just the sort of establishment figure the Tories would go for
Don't jump to conclusions. In fact, Sir Ronald's political persuasions are left of centre. He stood for the Liberal Party in parliamentary and European elections in the Seventies, but more recently has been one of Labour's most generous backers.
Crumbs, so Mr Cameron really is harnessing the big society?
Well, he's also asked Nick O'Donohoe, a well-known banker – mainly at JP Morgan, but also at Goldman Sachs – to advise on the Big Society Bank, so it's certainly going to be a bank of all the talents, so to speak.
Tell us more about Sir Ronald
Well, the stellar career in the Cityfollowed an equally impressiveacademic career, including an MBA from Harvard earned after Sir Ronald had graduated from Oxford University, where he was President of the Oxford Union.
Another toff, no doubt?
You're jumping to conclusions again. Sir Ronald's achievements are all the more impressive given that onstarting at a north London grammar school aged 12 in 1957, he spoke only a few words of English. His family had been forced to flee their home in Egypt following the Suez Crisis.
- 1 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
- 3 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
- 4 Nicki Minaj finally releases predictable 'Anaconda' video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women
iJobs Money & Business
£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...
£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...
£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pilla...