The Business On: Stuart Fraser, chairman, Corporation of London Policy Committee
Thursday 03 November 2011
The bloke with the gold chain and the funny hat?
No, that's the Lord Mayor (he's doing his thing at next week's annual show). Mr Fraser's role doesn't come with a costume, but is more powerful. He effectively runs the City of London Corporation, the local authority in charge of the Square Mile.
That sounds a cushy gig.
Once upon a time – this is not an area struggling with deprivation. But Mr Fraser's in-tray is overflowing these days. He's spent much of his term of office defending the bankers (his constituency) and now he's facing the protest at St Paul's too.
How is he coping?
Mr Fraser's great skill is his ability to sound so reasonable. There's no doubt many in the City are keen to see the back of the protesters but Mr Fraser, the Square Mile's public face, has not been confrontational or aggressive. Whether he can find a compromise acceptable to all, however, is another matter.
So who is he?
Not the banking blue-blood you might expect. Mr Fraser grew up in Kent and started in the City as a postboy after leaving school. He's worked for a string of well-known firms, climbing the ladder in a career spanning almost 40 years (he's now a director of Brewin Dolphin, the UK's largest independent broker).
Still, he and the protesters must be chalk and cheese.
For the most part yes, though they might admire some of his more traditional skills. He's a fletcher – a member of the City livery formed by the tradesmen who made feathers for archers' arrows. And like those arrows, he has a reputation for being absolutely straight.
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