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A clutch of City grandees bag knighthoods in New Year’s Honours list

Clutch of City grandees, including former BT boss Jan du Plessis, bag knighthoods in New Year’s Honours list


A clutch of City grandees bagged a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours list. 

Former BT chairman Jan du Plessis, hedge fund tycoon David Harding, ex-Lord Mayor William Russell, Games Workshop founder Ian Livingstone and Legal & General boss Nigel Wilson will take on the title of ‘Sir’ for achievements recognised by the Queen. 

After another year dominated by the pandemic, John Dawson – chief executive of Oxford Biomedica, which became a stock market darling after creating Britain’s Covid vaccine with Astrazeneca – was handed a CBE. 

Awards: Despite auditors taking another beating for their roles in a string of accounting scandals, two were honoured

Astra senior vice-president Ruth March and senior director of research and development Julia Thompson also claimed an OBE each. 

Stephen Reese, a partner at law firm Clifford Chance, was awarded a CBE for advising the Government and Pfizer on their vaccine plans. 

Despite auditors taking another beating for their roles in a string of accounting scandals, two were honoured. Nick Owen, who recently stepped down as the UK chairman of Deloitte, was recognised with a CBE. And Bina Mehta, his counterpart at KPMG, was awarded an MBE. 

Kate Grussing took home a CBE after her headhunting firm Sapphire Partners was the first in 326 years to help the search for a Bank of England governor, as Threadneedle Street finally decided it needed to shortlist some women. 

Former TSB chairman Richard Meddings and consumer champion Martin Lewis scooped CBEs for their work in the finance sector. Meddings – now in line for the top NHS England chairman job – helped to turn TSB around after presiding over an IT meltdown which left around 2m customers locked out of their accounts. 

Lewis, who founded advice website Moneysavingexpert, caught MPs’ attention this year after his impassioned appearance in Parliament, urging the Government to do more to tackle online fraud. The knighthoods were dished out for acumen and contributions to society. Du Plessis, 67, helped BT ‘to make fundamental investments that are critical to the future success of the UK economy’, the Cabinet Office list read. 

These included the £15billion commitment to extend fibre broadband to 25m homes. Harding, 60, of Winton Group, who has donated hundreds of millions to charity, enabling ‘enormous contributions to research, industry and civil society’. Wilson, 65, was praised for growing L&G to be the UK’s first £1trillion investment manager. 

Livingstone, 72, was grandly titled ‘one of the founding fathers of the UK games industry’. 

And Russell, 56, the City of London’s 692nd Lord Mayor, received credit for his contributions to fintech, green finance and charity

There’s CBEs for grocery bosses too

The boss of the Co-op and a former chief of Asda have been honoured for keeping shelves stocked amid the pandemic. 

Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-op Group, and Roger Burnley, who stepped down as Asda’s chief executive this year, will be made CBEs. 

Honoured: Steve Murrells (far right), chief executive of the Co-op Group, and Roger Burnley (left), who stepped down as Asda's chief executive this year, will be made CBEs

Honoured: Steve Murrells (far right), chief executive of the Co-op Group, and Roger Burnley (left), who stepped down as Asda’s chief executive this year, will be made CBEs

The pair have been recognised for services to the food supply chain, the Government said, in a year when supermarkets, hospitality firms and suppliers worked to avoid shortages as a lack of staff, pandemic restrictions and global disruption took a toll. 

Products such as poultry saw particular pressure in the summer before the Government issued emergency visas for workers in supply chains. Murrells, who has led the Co-op Group since 2017, said: ‘This award recognises the broader social impact a strong and vibrant Co-op can make within society, and the tireless support of 60,000 incredible Co-op colleagues.’ 

Burnley departed from Asda after its £6.8billion takeover by the Issa brothers and TDR Capital. He said: ‘I am incredibly proud, and humbled, by this recognition. Everyone in the UK food industry has done an amazing job against the relentless backdrop of the Covid pandemic.’ 

Jo Scott, a shop floor worker and community champion at Asda in Pwllheli, north Wales, received a BEM.

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