Never knowingly undersold: Lord Hutton to chair coalition's first John Lewis-style spin-off

The former Cabinet minister Lord Hutton will this week be named as chairman of the first company to be spun out of Whitehall as part of the Government's vision to create a "John Lewis economy" of employee-owned businesses.

Lord Hutton will lead the My Civil Service Pension (MyCSP), an operation that manages the retirement funds of 1.5 million civil servants. As part of the transfer into a new ownership structure, staff will be handed 25 per cent of the firm. A private-sector partner will take a 40 per cent stake, while the Government will retain 35 per cent.

Ministers want to ape the success of department store group John Lewis, which regularly tops staff satisfaction polls. A plan to switch up to one in six civil servants, or 75,000 staff, into the private sector, will also be unveiled soon.

As well as cutting the public sector by creating more mutually-owned businesses, the hope is that productivity can be increased, too. With a commercial investor on board, MyCSP aims to reduce by half the cost of administering pensions by 2022.

MyCSP employs nearly 500 people. In an attempt to forestall future pay rows, its chief executive's salary will be capped at eight times the firm's average.

Lord Hutton has held several Cabinet posts, including Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. "I am a firm believer in the power of engaging employees to drive innovation," he said.

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