Blair set to take another lucrative position

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The Independent Online

Tony Blair, the former prime minister, is about to add Zurich Financial Services to his lucrative list of consultancies, according to rumours in Davos.

Since retiring as prime minister, Mr Blair has been signed up to advise JP Morgan Chase for a minimum of $5m (£2.52m) a year. Some bankers say the advisory role is worth a good deal more. He has also picked up an estimated £5m writing contract for his political memoirs.

Zurich Financial Services, which declined to comment on Mr Blair, is one of the biggest insurance companies in the world, with widespread interests in Britain, including Allied Dunbar. The Swiss company's chief executive, James Schiro, was in Davos last week.

Mr Blair has been a high-profile presence over the past week in Davos, where he has been co-chairing the World Economic Forum annual meeting alongside Jamie Dimon, chairman of JP Morgan Chase. Other co-chairs included KU Kamath, chief executive of ICICI Bank, India's largest commercial bank, and Wang Jianzhou, chief executive of China Mobile.

Concluding a meeting, whose theme was "The Power of Collaborative Innovation", Mr Blair said: "Globalisation is forcing change in how people collaborate in a fundamental way. If we are integrated, and the world is integrated, the only way for the world to work is to have a set of common values. We have no option but to work together."

Mr Blair's predecessor as prime minister, Sir John Major, accepted lucrative private sector work after leaving office, working for Carlyle Group, the US private equity giant.

The appointment of former heads of government to such positions is controversial because they are hired for the contacts they made while in political office and the access and influence they might still command.