Mervyn Davies to join government

By Alex Stevenson

Standard Chartered chief executive Mervyn Davies has been appointed trade minister by Gordon Brown.

Mr Davies, who will become a life peer, will be tasked with getting banks to resume lending to businesses as the government launches its ‘real help’ package of measures helping firms struggling to access capital for working finance and investment.

Standard Chartered said in a statement Mr Davies had resigned “with immediate effect” following his appointment as minister for trade promotion and investment. He had served with the bank since 1993.

“I am honoured to take up the new role with HM government but will be very sad to leave so many friends at Standard Chartered,” Mr Davies commented.

MPs on the business, enterprise and regulatory reform select committee expressed their frustration with the appointment on accountability grounds this morning.

Questioning business secretary Peter Mandelson, they said his ministerial team was “strong” but “unbalanced” towards the Lords.

“We shouldn’t deny ourselves access to that talent pool,” Lord Mandelson replied.

Mr Davies was chairman of Standard Chartered since November 2006 and had chaired the interim executive committee of the international centre for financial regulation in May 2007.

The following month Gordon Brown appointed him chairman of the Business Council for Britain.