Chairman of fracking firm Cuadrilla helps select DECC senior execs. “The chairman of fracking firm Cuadrilla has the power to hand-pick the board of non-executive directors at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, ClickGreen can reveal.”
“Former BP chief executive Lord Browne of Madingley was appointed as the Government’s Lead Non-Executive Director in June 2010 and is responsible for recruiting business leaders to the boards of Whitehall departments.
One of the appointments at DECC is a senior executive at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, where the crossbench Lords peer had previous board experience.
Despite having a huge financial stake in Cuadrilla, Lord Browne is allowed to recommend appointments with wide-ranging responsibilities and influence within DECC, including the power to hire and fire the department’s permanent secretary.
The Cabinet Office says Lord Browne does not sit on the interview panel at DECC, as he does with other Whitehall Departments. However, Energy Secretary Ed Davey can only appoint non-executive directors from the shortlist of candidates Lord Browne provides.
Special measures are supposed to be in place to avoid a perceived conflict of interest. “Appropriate safeguards” were placed on Cabinet Minister Davey following his February 2012 appointment because of his brother’s legal links with the energy industry.
The four-strong non-exec director panel, who act under Lord Browne’s leadership, are also responsible for helping to determine DECC’s strategy, as well as providing advice on performance, operational issues, and on the effective management of the Department.
….However, despite the pledges of accountability and openness, DECC recently refused to answer a Freedom of Information request asking how many times Lord Browne had met the department’s permanent secretary or how many times the non-executive directors had met.
Lord Browne makes no secret of his dual roles. Even his contact email address on Parliament’s official website is listed as Riverstone LLC – the private investment firm that is a shareholder in Cuadrilla.
….DECC’s Departmental Board is chaired by Secretary of State Ed Davey and includes Ministers, the Permanent Secretary and Directors-General, a Lead Non-Executive Director and four Non-Executive Board Members. DECC’s existing Non-Executive Directors are Martin Stewart (Lead NED), CEO of Eurotaxglass Ltd, Claire Thomas, Director of HR at GSK and Terry Morgan, Chairman of CrossRail.