Ex-minister embraced the City

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The Independent Online
SIMON PINCOMBE

Of all the Conservative government ministers who took up highly paid jobs after leaving office, none embraced the City culture more enthusiastically than Lord Young of Graffham.

As executive chairman of C&W since 1990 he earned nearly pounds 900,000 in good years, and was also a director of Salomon Brothers, the US investment bank, until two years ago.

Lord Young, who once quipped that he worked at C&W and lunched at Salomon, went to the telecommunications giant 15 months after stepping down as Trade and Industry secretary. Nolan has since recommended that ministers should seek permission on taking private-sector jobs within two years of leaving office.

Lord Young once told the Institute of Directors that enterprise was not greed but "the legitimate desire to better your lot and that of your family". Yet, he accused teachers who were threatening industrial action of greed in "putting their own interests before any others".

David Young and his late brother Stuart, who became chairman of the BBC, were the sons of Jewish immigrants brought up in Stamford Hill, London. David left school at 16 and studied in the evenings at University College for his law degree. He practised law for a few months, then met Leonard Wolfson who offered him a job at Great Universal Stores where he remained for five years.

This was followed by an industrial property venture, Eldonwall, which was absorbed by Town & City, and a joint venture with US bankers Manufacturers Hanover, lending money to property developers.

Lord Young claimed he only intended to spend two years in politics. "But it turned into the 10 most exciting years of my life. You always felt you were part of a winning team."

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