Indian-born minister to resolve B&B imbroglio | india | Hindustan Times
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Indian-born minister to resolve B&B imbroglio

india Updated: Sep 29, 2008 22:53 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt
Hindustan Times
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Gordon Brown’s “representative on earth” when she was his key adviser in the Treasury — Indian-origin Shriti Vadera — business and competitiveness minister, has been chosen as a leading player in the Treasury’s attempts to solve the crisis at Bradford & Bingley. The bank’s takeover is estimated to cost the taxpayer 1.59 billion pounds.

The government hopes to tap her experience as an investment banker at UBS in resolving the crisis. She is working with Alistair Darling and Tom Scholar, Gordon Brown’s chief of staff, who is now in the board of Northern Rock.

Vadera has been an important adviser on public-private partnerships, Lord Megnad Desai told HT. “She is knowledgeable about financing and a tough negotiator.”

“She has been a great addition to the Lords.. She is clever and was not chosen to fill any Asian quota.”

The Indian-born already stepped up her efforts on Saturday as it increasingly became clear that B&B could not survive the weekend. On a conference call with chief executives of all banks — Royal Bank of Scotland’s Sir Fred Goodwin, Barclays’ John Varley, HSBC’s Michael Geoghegan, Lloyds TSB’s Eric Daniels, and Abbey's Antonio Horta-Osorio — she urged them to help find a solution. RBS and HSBC were leaned on heavily to buy the bank, insiders said, though neither was prepared to take it on, reported The Telegraph.

Earlier this year, she chaired a meeting of chief executives of all banks with the Prime Minister, an indicator of her influence in shaping the government’s approach to financial services. B&B’s board, led by Chief Executive Richard Pym, has also been increasingly sidelined as the crisis escalated.