After an eminent career in later years dominated by picking up the pieces of the post-Lehman world, former Slaughter and May corporate veteran Charles Randell has been appointed chair of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Randell, who is currently an external member of the Prudential Regulation Committee of the Bank of England, will take up the role on 1 April for a five-year term, overseeing the City’s primary regulatory agency. He replaces outgoing chair John Griffith-Jones, a veteran accountant best known for running KPMG’s UK business. The role, which is contracted for three days a week, is one of the most prominent positions in public life to have been handed to a former City lawyer.
The move follows the 2015 appointment of Herbert Smith Freehills London litigation head Tim Parkes as chair of the FCA’s regulatory decisions committee.
FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey commented: ‘[Randell’s] experience of regulation, both during the financial crisis and more recently as a member of the Prudential Regulation Committee, mean that he has a strong understanding of the challenges that the FCA faces.’
Randell, who is also a non-executive board member for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, worked at the Magic Circle law firm between 1980 and 2013. Becoming a partner in 1989, he acted on a string of high-profile corporate mandates. His most celebrated role in private practice was leading the legal team for HM Treasury on the rescue of Northern Rock, the collapse of the Icelandic banks and the state support package for Royal Bank of Scotland, HBOS and Lloyds. For years a key operator for Slaughters, Randell generated roughly £32.9m of fees through his engagement with HM Treasury. One of Randell’s senior colleagues on the bailout work, corporate partner Nilufer von Bismarck, was this week awarded an OBE in the New Year’s honours list.
In April 2017, Norton Rose Fulbright and Squire Patton Boggs won roles on the FCA’s panel of skilled advisers. The roster is set to remain until 2021.