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Big Society Capital launch: Chairman, CEO, Board Directors and Trustees confirmed and first investment made

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Big Society Capital formerly referred to as the “Big Society Bank”, today announces its launch with three entities: Big Society Capital Limited (BSC), the operating company of the group; The Big Society Trust (BST), responsible for ensuring the group stays true to its mission; and The Big Society Foundation, a charity able to receive philanthropic donations to support the investment readiness of social organisations.

Sir Ronald Cohen has agreed to serve as Big Society Capital’s unpaid Non-Executive Chair until the organisation is fully operational and its new Board has conducted an open search for a more permanent chair, while Nick O’Donohoe, formerly Global Head of Research at JP Morgan, has agreed to become BSC’s first CEO. In recent months both have advised the Government on establishing the group. Caroline Mason, until now COO of Charity Bank, also joins the BSC senior management team as the organisation’s COO. The Boards of both the BSC and BST have today also been constituted. They comprise leading figures spanning backgrounds in the social sector, business and public policy:

Big Society Capital Board

  • Dawn Austwick (Esmée Fairbairn Foundation)
  • Dai Powell (HCT Group)
  • Lady Susan Rice (Lloyds Banking Group Scotland)
  • Danielle Walker Palmour (Friends Provident Foundation)
  • John Kingston (Association of Charitable Foundations)
  • Geoff Mulgan (National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts)
  • David Carrington (Independent Consultant)
  • Sir Ronald Cohen (The Portland Trust and Bridges Ventures, Adviser to the Government on “The Big Society Bank”)
  • Nick O’Donohoe (Adviser to the Government on “The Big Society Bank”)
  • A representative of the Merlin banks will be appointed shortly

The Big Society Trust

  • Sir Richard Lambert (University of Warwick)
  • Ian Davis (formerly McKinsey & Co)
  • Baroness Pitkeathley (House of Lords)
  • David Robinson (Community Links)
  • Sir Stephen Bubb (CEO of ACEVO) ex officio in rotation with the CEO of NCVO
  • Peter Holbrook (CEO of Social Enterprise Coalition) ex officio
  • Gareth Davies (Cabinet Office) ex officio
  • Sir Ronald Cohen (Chair of BSC) ex officio

In the coming months, Big Society Capital, which will be regulated by the Financial Services Authority, will receive equity capital from dormant bank accounts (estimated to be currently of the order of £400 million) and £200 million from the big four UK high street banks (“The Merlin banks”).

BSC and the four Merlin banks have come to a formal agreement on the terms of the banks’ £200m investment in BSC.

The banks will commit to provide equity investment over 4 years to be drawn down alongside the dormant accounts monies as they are received. The banks will have rights to income proportional to their contribution to BSC’s total capital and senior rights in the event of liquidation of the company. The Big Society Trust will control 80 % of the voting rights of BSC and the Merlin banks 20%.The banks will be nominating one representative to the Board of BSC. The Merlin banks have also agreed to provide BSC with an interest-free loan to assist with its establishment pending regulatory approvals. Completion of a transaction is subject to conditions including agreement on formal documentation, receipt of FSA authorisation and State Aid approval and approval from HMGovernment.

In a statement, Sir Ronald Cohen and Nick O’Donohoe said, "We very much welcome the equity investment by the Merlin banks and a strategic relationship with them in developing the market for social investment in Britain."

Last updated | 
29 July 2011