Private equity pirate to become London’s “first deputy mayor”

From Dave Hill’s blog:

Just added to Mayor Johnson’s growing list of deputies is a man called Tim Parker. What can I tell you about him? Well, he’s 52, has four children and lots of curly hair. He is also a private equity man. His admirers call him a “cost-cutter”. His enemies – such as every trade union he’s ever dealt with – call him the Prince of Darkness.

He’s been in charge at, among others places, the AA, Kwik-Fit and Clarks Shoes. In each case he’s cut masses of jobs and made mountains of money: £25m from the exhaust-fitters; upwards of £40m from the motoring organisation.

The Daily Telegraph tells us that when he announced job losses to workers at the famous old-shoemaking factory in Somerset he arrived in a Porsche. Apparently, he still drives one.

His personal fortune presumably explains why he’s able to accept the job of “first deputy mayor” in return for a salary of £1.

He will be chief executive of the GLA Group, which comprises the authority itself, the London Development Agency and Transport for London.

Johnson will also nominate him to chair the board of the latter.

During his election campaign, he pledged to work towards a non-strike deal with London’s transport unions. I wonder what Bob Crow is thinking right now.

5pm update

Here’s my answer. Crow, the RMT’s general secretary, said: “The world’s finest metro system does not need an asset-stripper or a Prince of Darkness, but it does need its modernisation programme put back on track if it is to be ready for the 2012 Olympics.

“Tube users and workers have already had more than a bellyful of privatisation with the huge waste and failure of the PPP and the collapse of Metronet. The tube needs public investment to improve it for Londoners and the restoration of Metronet’s contracts to TfL control will be a massive step along the right road.”

Paul Kenny, the general secretary of the GMB, said: “This is a scary moment for London’s commuters. Tim Parker is one of the multi-millionaire elite private equity buccaneers who asset-stripped the AA by cutting jobs and cutting services and raising prices to customers.

“At AA he targeted and sacked by bullying out of the door the sick and disabled staff. He took £30m out of AA when he left it last year, having saddled AA/SAGA with £4.8bn of debt. The good work of the last number of years is under threat.”


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