Woman joins Bank Court

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The Independent Online
FRANCES HEATON is the first woman to be appointed to the Court, or board, of the Bank of England since the Bank's foundation in 1694. Mrs Heaton was named yesterday with two other new directors, the former Lloyds Bank chairman Sir Jeremy Morse and Hambros head Sir John 'Chips' Keswick.

Mrs Heaton, 48, is director- general of the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers, and is a full-time director of Lazards, the merchant bank. There had been speculation leading up to Eddie George's recent appointment as the Governor-elect of the Bank that a short list of women for the top slot was under consideration, but this was later denied.

The three new directors have been selected by Downing Street from 'the great and the good' to fulfil a role similar to a non-executive director in a company. Each director will serve four years and be paid pounds 500 a year, as laid down in 1946. The entire court of 18 directors meets each Thursday morning to discuss policy matters.

Mrs Heaton trained as a barrister, was called to the Bar in 1967, and worked for the Department of Economic Affairs until 1970. She spent the next decade in the Treasury and then joined Lazards.

She has tried to raise the profile of the Takeover Panel but was regarded by some as detached from the mainstream because until recently she did not watch television. However, she has recently bought a television set.

Sir John, 53, was born in Shanghai and went to Eton and the University of Aix, Marseilles. He is the youngest of three brothers from a rich Scottish trading family that made its fortune in the Far East in the 19th century.

He made his name as a boisterous critic of the City's changes during Big Bang and kept Hambros out of the orgy of mergers and expansions that followed. He once opined that it was in order for people to throw eggs at bankers should they so desire.

Sir Jeremy, 64, was chairman of Lloyds Bank from 1977 until he retired this year. He quickly became a leading light in banking circles after taking a first at Oxford. His famously cerebral interests - he has been president of the British Chess Problem Society and of the Classical Association - led him to be the inspiration behind the television detective series Inspector Morse. But he partnered Brian Pitman, the chief executive, in building Lloyds into the UK's most profitable clearing bank.

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