David Brierwood and Bill Crothers: who are the cabinet office advisers who were hired by Greensill?

Further government officials found to have worked at Greensill capital following lobbying row involving David Cameron

David Brierwood and Bill Crothers: who are the cabinet office advisers who were hired by Greensill? (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
David Brierwood and Bill Crothers: who are the cabinet office advisers who were hired by Greensill? (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

A second government official, David Brierwood, worked for Greensill Capital while serving as an adviser to the Cabinet Office, it has been revealed.

The news comes after it was disclosed earlier this week that Bill Crothers took up a role with the now-defunct finance firm while he was still chief commercial officer for the government.

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David Brierwood joined the civil service in 2014 and took on a directorship at Greensill just two months later, a position he maintained throughout his time in government until 2018.

Links between the government and Greensill Capital have come under heightened scrutiny due to reports that former prime minister David Cameron lobbied to get the firm access to government-backed loans.

Who is David Brierwood?

While there is no suggestion of wrongdoing by the former government official, Brierwood’s close ties with Greensill Capital raise further questions about the ‘revolving-door’ between Downing Street and big business.

A former banker, Brierwood joined the Cabinet Office as an adviser in 2014, under David Cameron’s premiership.

It was around this time that Greensill’s Ceo, Lex Greensill, also began developing close ties with the government and reportedly took on a similar role, according to a business card which has emerged recently.

Brierwood advised the government on procurement, and was among a number of senior corporate figures to be brought into Downing Street as advisers due to their experience and links with the private sector.

Referred to as ‘Crown representatives”, advisers like Brierwood tend to take on part-time roles alongside existing jobs in the private sector, unlike full-time civil servants.

Two months after taking on his Cabinet Office role, Brierwood joined Greensill as a director and remained in the role throughout his time in government, until 2018, before resigning in February this year.

The Cabinet Office has said that Brierwood’s work in government did not cover supply-chain finance, Greensill’s main line-of-work, and that “all Crown representatives go through propriety checks and cannot work with a supplier where there could be a conflict of interest”.

Who is Bill Crothers?

Bill Crothers served as the government’s chief commercial officer (CCO) between 2012 and 2015, in a role which involved advising ministers on procurement, effectively overseeing around £40bn worth of spending.

He had previously worked at the multinational management consultancy Accenture, and initially took on the role of Chair of the Crown Commercial Service before becoming CCO.

While still employed by the government on a £149,000 taxpayer-funded salary, Mr Crothers took on an advisory role at Greensill Capital in 2015, and became a director at the collapsed financial firm afterwards.

Despite existing rules on senior government figures having to consult with a special advisory body, ACOBA, about any new roles taken up in the two years after leaving office, his appointment was only brought to light recently.

Upon learning of Crothers’ relationship with Greensill Capital Boris Johnson decided to widen the scope of the independent review, and civil servants have been told to disclose any second jobs urgently.

Labour described the revelations as “extraordinary and shocking,” and called for a parliamentary inquiry.

What is the Greensill Capital scandal?

Reports that former prime minister David Cameron attempted to convince Treasury officials and the chancellor to allow his employer, Greensill Capital, to access government backed loans has prompted further scrutiny of the links between government and big business, particularly the now-defunct financial firm.

The row began over claims that Cameron had contacted government officials, including the chancellor, to get financial services company, Greensill Capital, access to a government-backed loan scheme.

Greensill Capital went into administration after many creditors expressed doubts over its valuation and debt piled up.

While the firm did not use the scheme Cameron pushed for access to, the scandal has raised a number of questions about lobbying in politics.

Since initial reports emerged, a number of connected issues have come to light, including private meetings between Cameron, Greensill Capital’s CEO, Lex Greensill, and the health secretary Matt Hancock.

Questions have also been raised about Lex Greensill’s prior formal role within government, after an old business card of his emerged, listing him as “Senior Adviser, Prime Minister’s Office”.