Ethical Performance
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Brown’s reshuffle gives minister a joined-up brief

November 2008

A former climate change minister has taken over the UK government’s corporate responsibility brief.

Ian Pearson has been given the portfolio as part of prime minister Gordon Brown’s recent cabinet reshuffle. The 49-year-old MP for Dudley South replaces Malcolm Wicks, who had held the brief since the early part of this year. Wicks has become science minister.

Pearson was most recently at the Treasury, where he was economic secretary, but he gained some experience of corporate responsibility issues in the year he spent as climate change and environment minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2006–07.

Oxford-educated Pearson has been in parliament since 1994. Before that he was variously chief executive of an economic development company, a consultant, and a researcher at Warwick University.

Besides corporate responsibility, Pearson’s job as economic and business minister within the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform includes related topics such as sustainable development and regulation, corporate governance, implementation of the Companies Act, and export controls.

His predecessor concentrated mainly on energy policy, but that portfolio has been moved to a new Department for Energy and Climate Change headed by former Cabinet Office minister Ed Miliband.

Pearson’s departmental boss is the recently ennobled Lord Peter Mandelson, former European Commissioner for Trade, replacing John Hutton, who is now defence secretary.

Juliet Davenport, chief executive and founder of Good Energy, a British renewables company, said the creation of a single government department for energy and climate policy was long overdue, and would be backed by business.

She added that the previous regime, in which responsibilities had been spread across several departments, had led to ‘crossed wires’ and a lack of co-ordinated action.

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs | UK & NI Ireland | Government

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