Blair follows the money

Tony Blair has taken a lucrative advisory role at JP Morgan. It's tough being an ex-Prime Minister...

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Just to remind us that it’s not only sub-prime borrowers who have to worry about their mortgages, Blair will advise the US investment bank on ‘global political issues’, in return for a hefty fee estimated to be about $1m a year. He told the FT that it would be the first of ‘a small handful’ of similar appointments within the private sector.

His salary negotiations were conducted by US lawyer Robert Barnett, the man who reportedly persuaded Random House to pay him a £5m advance for his memoirs. So next time you’re looking for a pay rise, you know who to call.

Being an ex-statesman (or a semi-ex, in Blair’s case, given his Middle East envoy job) is a lucrative business. As well as the inevitable memoirs, the likes of Blair can earn a fortune on the international speaking circuit, charging up to £100,000 a pop. Ex-president Clinton apparently earned about $10m from speaker fees last year – and that’s despite donating most of the proceeds to his non-profit foundation.

It’s unlikely that Blair is going to solve JP Morgan’s sub-prime woes. But not many potential advisers will have a CV or a contacts book like his, even if he’s not as popular with the hoi polloi as he used to be. The bank’s boss Jamie Dimon said his experience would be ‘enormously valuable’ and said he and Blair shared a common goal: ‘to try to make the world a better place and have a bit of fun doing it’. We can’t wait to see what kind of hi-jinks and hilarity ensue.

Of course, Blair is hardly the first former leader to secure a cushy little number in the private sector after leaving office. His predecessor John Major took an advisory role at private equity firm the Carlyle Group, where his responsibilities largely consisted of showing up for meetings with foreign dignitaries and pressing the flesh at drinks parties.

Blair will presumably be hoping for a similar story at JP Morgan, so he’ll have plenty of time left to write a book, speak at a few conferences, take on a few other directorships, and of course, solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And still be home for beans on toast with Cherie and Leo.

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