Lord Blackwell - A Young* Economists' Dinner Discussion

Held on Monday, March 27

With support from Nabarro


  • Lord Blackwell (Lloyds Banking Group)



Norman Blackwell – Baron Blackwell of Woodcote – is a man of many parts: part politician, part banker, part policy advisor and part businessman.

As a politician, he has been active in the House of Lords (which he joined in 1997, at the tender age of 47) on issues from Britain’s role in Europe to the need for a comprehensive rewrite of UK tax law. As a banker, he is (and I guess this is his main day job) currently the Chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, tasked with the delicate job of disentangling it from the public grasp. (In that role, he succeeded Sir Win Bischoff, who, as some of you will remember, also spoke to our Young Economists Group.) As a policy advisor, he was a key member of Mrs. Thatcher’s No 10 Policy Unit – and went on to direct the same body for John Major from 1995 to 1997. And, as a businessman, he began his post-University career at Plessey (remember them?), moving on to McKinsey and, more recently, to a number of public companies, including Halma and Interserve.

Underpinning all of that, Lord Blackwell read natural sciences at Cambridge, then went on to do an MBA at Wharton and a PhD at Penn (where, by coincidence, he and I were both Thouron scholars).

Although, as the Chairman of a major bank, he is assiduously neutral on all issues of political sensitivity, it is perhaps no coincidence that, when he cofounded the campaign group Global Vision, in 2007, his partner was that eurorealist, Ruth Lea. He has long argued for a renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU, and told the FT only a year or so ago that Britain’s membership was not sustainable without “significant change”.

Has he got what he wanted? Or is he suffering buyer’s remorse? And what does he think about the City’s continuing role post-Brexit? And about the FinTech challenge to High St banks?

All of this, and potentially more, is on the table – of course, under the Chatham House Rule. If you (or a friend, as we are always keen to expand our network) would like to join us for what I am sure will be a stimulating discussion, please let us know by emailing alex@csfi.org or by calling the Centre at 0207 621 1056. Since we only have a couple of dozen seats, an early response would be much appreciated.

* 'Young' is a relative term. But, for this purpose, we have a (fairly soft) cut-off around 40.