Outlook: New regulator can get it right this time
Saturday 22 August 1998
Whether it is the walking or the holiday that has been extended is less clear. But as far as full-time employment goes, Mr McCarthy is fit and available for work, as they say down the JobCentre, having quit his post as chief executive of Barclays' US operations in April.
The financial rewards that come with being a regulator - even one charged with doing the work of two men (alright one man and one woman) - are modest by investment banking standards. The going rate for the job of regulating the gas and electricity industries is pounds 120,000 or more for an "exceptional candidate". Even if Mr McCathy fits that bill, the remuneration will still be nothing compared to what he could have earned had he stuck with Barclays.
It is reasonable to assume that the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry was not exactly knocked down by the rush of candidates applying for the post. In previous job searches, the Government's headhunters have had to comb the groves of academe to find suitable material.
Hardly surprising since the salaries are not competitive with private sector rates while the job itself is a thankless task. Squeezed between consumers who rarely think they get a fair share of the cake, and companies who resent the fact that their prices are controlled at all, the job of regulator is indeed a lonely one.
Henceforth, it will not be quite as lonely as it used to be. In virtually her last act in charge at the Department of Trade and Industry, Margaret Beckett decreed that individual regulators should be replaced by full- time executive boards comprising a chairman and two others. Mr McCarthy's first task as chairman will be his most important one - deciding where the boardroom will be. The choice is between London, the current home of the outgoing gas regulator Clare Spottiswoode, or Birmingham, where the electricity regulator Stephen Littlechild has his billet.
Having run the show for Barclays in both Japan and America, the much- travelled Mr McCarthy may think nothing of shuttling between the two for a while. But ultimately he will only need one headquarters. Staff at Ofgas and Offer would probably like to know whether he kept a pied a terre over here while he was on his travels, and, if so, where.
Once the housekeeping has been sorted out, he has the task of making the deregulated domestic power market work. Given the teething troubles of gas liberalisation, the opening up of the domestic electricity market from this autumn has the capacity to turn into a fiasco of interesting proportions. If that proves to be the case, then Professor Littlechild may be less keen to spend that much time handling over the reins to his successor.
The really big job facing the regulator is to help decide what the energy market will look like in five years time and how many players it will have. With PowerGen awaiting approval for its takeover of East Midlands, London Electricity quite pos
elephant appealThe first 23 lots have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
comedy'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize
Beatles rush out 'bootleg' album to defy EU copyright law
healthJames Bond's alcohol consumption puts him at 'high risk' of cirrhosis, tremors... and impotence
musicPolice chief rejects rappers' claims that his work is as dangerous as law enforcement or military service
tvSpoiler alert: Find out the result of a heated final show
Harvey Weinstein reveals his secret weapon on-set
Now that an oil trader's drinking has got him sacked, will we all have to make do with an afternoon latte?
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba get nods for Best Actor, which no black Brit has ever won
Geoffrey Macnab reviews The Desolation of Smaug - the meat in Peter Jackson's Hobbit sandwich
peopleWhat advice would David Cameron give to his younger self?
Mystery of Epping Forest 'big cat' is solved
French café starts charging extra to rude customers
Scientist create 'robotic sperm' to help with fertilisation and drug delivery
Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
- 1 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 4 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
- 5 Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Regulatory Man...
£50000 - £75000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Pre-Sales / Cl...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Regulatory Man...
£40000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer (CCNP, CCIE, Netwo...