Shriti Vadera, an Indian-origin minister in former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government, has been named by the Spanish banking group Santander to chair its British business.
Vadera was a minister in the British government during the days of the global financial crisis.
She will replace Terence Burns in March, who had announced his plan to leave the board of the company in January.
Vadera was made a life peer in the British House of Lords in July 2007 when Gordon Brown became the country’s prime minister, two months before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which unleashed global financial turmoil, The Telegraph reported Friday.
She was moved subsequently from the department for international development to a business-focused cabinet post in 2008.
Vadera had spent 14 years at the Swiss investment bank UBS and eight years as a treasury advisor before becoming a Labour peer, the report said.
Vadera will be the first woman to chair a big bank in Britain and one among a small number of female chairpersons in large British businesses. Just three of the FTSE 100 firms have women as their chair.
She was dubbed “Gordon Brown’s representative on Earth” for her affinity with the then prime minister’s politics. However, she left the government in 2009 to take up a job with the G20.
She had also taken up non-executive roles at BHP Billiton and AstraZeneca.
“We’re proud and excited to welcome Shriti Vadera to Santander,” said Ana Botin, chairperson of the Santander Group, adding, “(Vadera’s) deep expertise in Britain and global economies as well as her banking experience add to her credentials as a strong, independent non-executive chairperson.”