Simon Walker, the man brought in to clean up the image of the private equity industry in the UK four years ago, has been appointed to run the Institute of Directors (IoD). He pledged yesterday to campaign for lower taxes and less regulation for UK businesses.
Mr Walker became the chief executive of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) in 2007, when the buyout industry was hit by a public backlash over its practice of loading companies with debt and slashing jobs. This culminated in a UK parliamentary inquiry into private equity tactics.
Mr Walker, who joins the IoD early next month, replaces Miles Templeman, whose seven-year term expires at the end of September. Mr Walker said yesterday he "relished" the prospect of representing the business community. "As director general, I will be campaigning for growth and the competitiveness of British business," he said. "We've taken the UK's competitiveness for granted for too long and now find ourselves with an excessively high tax burden, an overregulated labour market and creaking transport and energy infrastructures."
Mr Walker was previously the communications secretary to the Queen and a special adviser to the former prime minister John Major. He held other senior roles at Reuters and British Airways. He added: "Britain has lost its competitive edge and radical reform is the only route to sustainable growth, stability and long-term job and wealth creation."