London Mayor Boris Johnson has added one of the City's most respected names to his policy team with the announcement that former Standard Chartered economist Gerard Lyons will join his as chief economic adviser.
The appointment comes just weeks after Lyons, 51, left Standard Chartered after a thirteen year stint at the global bank that coincided with one of the most significant periods of emerging market growth in history. Lyons' research team at the bank was rated as the top global economic forecasting group for two years running, according to Bloomberg rankings.
"(Lyons) will provide the Mayor with strategic advice and intelligence on the economic outlook for London and the wider UK, as well as Europe, the emerging economies, and the United States, in an effort to ensure the right policies are in place to support the capital's businesses and maintain its economic strength and global competitiveness now and in the future," the Mayor's office said in a statement received via email. "As part of this role, he will be available to offer strategic advice to the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise, and the business and economic teams as they seek to deliver on the Mayor's jobs and growth priorities and drive forward apprenticeships and skills programmes."
Lyons' addition to Johnson's policy team also underscores the Mayor's drive to establish deeper economic ties with the so-called emerging market economies of China, Russia, Brazil and India. Johnson wrapped up a trade mission to India last month in an effort to develop closer business ties and entice more foreign direct investment into London and the City.
"We need to act fast, because we have ground to make up, and we cannot take anything for granted," Johnson wrote recently in the Times newspaper. "Young Indians these days are like any other global population that finds itself in the throes of embourgeoisement: they are gripped and excited by America and American brands - Google, Coke, Nike, Starbucks, you name it. The biggest foreign food supplier in India is Domino's Pizza, an American firm."
Lyons will begin working for the Mayor's office on 2 January and will be paid a reported salary of £127,200 each year, based on a reduced working week of 29 hours.