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Alistair Darling names ex-CBI chief Adair Turner to head City watchdog

3rd June 2008

Alistair Darling, the chancellor, yesterday handed Lord (Adair) Turner the job of steering the City's watchdog through the post-Northern Rock era.

Darling has persuaded Tony Blair's former pensions adviser to step down from heading the government's committee on climate change. After a search lasting several months, Turner was appointed chairman of the Financial Services Authority to replace Sir Callum McCarthy, who will step down in the autumn.

Turner, formerly director general of the CBI and chairman of the Low Pay Commission, had been keen to stay on as the head of the climate change committee but will step down early next year following its initial report at the end of 2008.

Darling paid tribute to McCarthy's work during the "severe pressures in financial markets since last August" and hailed the UK's system of financial regulation as "world leading". He added: "I am delighted to appoint Adair Turner as chairman of the FSA. His expertise will be invaluable in driving forward the FSA's objectives to maintain confidence in the financial system, promote understanding of it, protect consumers and reduce financial crime."

Turner, who was a management consultant with McKinsey in the 1980s, will become the second director general of the CBI, after Sir Howard Davies, to take the helm at the FSA.

The body was set up by Blair's first administration as part of a tripartite structure with the Bank of England and the Treasury to police the UK's financial sector, but has admitted that mistakes were made over Northern Rock.

The government does not intend to make sweeping changes to Britain's "light touch" regulatory regime, but proposals for improvements will be published for consultation by the Treasury next month, with Turner given the task of rebuilding trust in the system following the first run on a major high street bank in 141 years and the large-scale losses made on investments in US sub-prime mortgages

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