Sir Ronald Cohen stepping down as head of Big Society Capital

Sir Ronald Cohen, the veteran financier, is stepping down as chairman of Big Society Capital, the government-backed social investment bank set up a year ago to help charities and community projects.

Sir Ronald, 67, will remain on the board but intends to devote more time abroad on social investment projects that seek to plough private-sector money into running for-profit schemes in prisons, for the elderly and long-term unemployed. A search has begun for a new chairman.

"I said once it's operational I'll pass the baton to a new chair," said Sir Ronald, who set up the private equity group Apax more than three decades ago. "It is my intention to continue on the board to help make a success of this."

Big Society Capital has an initial funding pot of £400m-£600m of assets that were unclaimed in dormant bank accounts and a further £200m from UK banks, which is meant to act as seed capital to drum up more funds.

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