Sunday, October 17News That Matters

Government adviser became Greensill director months after taking Whitehall role

A government adviser became a director of Greensill Capital months after taking on his Cabinet Office role – in the latest link between the now-collapsed finance firm and Whitehall to emerge.

David Brierwood, a former employee of the Morgan Stanley investment bank, was appointed as a crown representative by the Cabinet Office under David Cameron’s tenure as prime minister.

According to his Linkedin profile, Mr Brierwood took on the role in October 2014 until June 2018.

In January 2015, according to Companies House records, Mr Brierwood also became a director of Greensill Capital – the firm at the centre of a lobbying row involving Mr Cameron.

The government website states crown representatives are a “network to act as a focal point for particular groups of providers looking to supply to the public sector”.

They are said to help the government to act as a single customer and work across Whitehall departments to “identify areas for cost savings” and “act as a point of focus for cross-cutting supplier-related issues”.

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Crown representatives are understood to be paid for their work.

Lex Greensill, the founder of Greensill Capital, was previously announced as a crown representative in March 2014.

At that point, Mr Greensill had already been working as a government adviser after being brought in by senior civil servant Jeremy Heywood, with the pair having been former colleagues at Morgan Stanley.

According to Mr Brierwood’s Linkedin profile, he was also deputy chairman of the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra between June 2014 and November 2019.

Mr Greensill was a trustee of the London-based Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra at a similar time, with Greensill Capital their corporate partner.

A number of inquiries – including one ordered by Prime Minister Boris Johnson – have this week been launched at Westminster into the government’s use of supply chain finance schemes and the role of Mr Greensill and Greensill Capital.

In 2018, Greensill Capital took over a supply chain finance scheme for NHS pharmacies – a programme said to have been the idea of Mr Greensill while he had a government advisory role.

Mr Cameron was employed by Greensill Capital after he quit as prime minister, since when he has been revealed to have lobbied current government ministers and officials on behalf of the firm.

This includes trying to secure access for Greensill Capital – via text messages to Chancellor Rishi Sunak – to government-backed financial support schemes during the coronavirus crisis.

In March this year, Greensill Capital filed for insolvency with the company’s demise threatening thousands of jobs in the UK steel industry, as the firm was a major financier of Liberty Steel’s owner GFG Alliance.

Mr Johnson was understood to be “concerned” this week when it emerged the former head of Whitehall procurement – Bill Crothers – became an adviser to Greensill Capital while still working as a civil servant, in a move approved by the Cabinet Office.

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Mr Crothers subsequently became a director at Greensill after leaving the civil service.

He himself is a former crown representative and, according to reports at the time, was dubbed “chief crown rep” when he became the Cabinet Office’s executive director of commercial relationships in 2012.

In 2014, Mr Crothers created the Crown Commercial Service under which the crown representatives network went on to sit within.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “Crown representatives do not participate in the procurement process nor are they able to award any contracts.

“They are part time senior executives recruited for their working knowledge of a sector to help ensure value for money for the taxpayer.

“All crown representatives go through regular propriety checks and cannot work with a supplier where there could be a conflict of interest.

“Mr Brierwood’s crown representative role was not anything to do with supply chain finance.”

Sky News has attempted to contact Mr Brierwood through RIMES Technologies, where he is listed as chairman of the board.