Overview: London’s new Lord Mayor – raging bull or paper tiger?

Lord Mayor elect Ian Luder

Lord Mayor elect Ian Luder

The City of London has been left reeling by the fall of Lehman Brothers and
jittery investors are wondering who might be next. The government is far from
flavour of the month at the moment, so the firm hand the Square Mile needs may
have to come from another source.

Ian Luder stood for a two-part process at a ceremony at Guildhall at the
beginning of the week to become the Lord Mayor of the City of London. He was
apparently a shoo-in for the job, but in the present climate, is there going to
be a City of London left for him to lord over and what is his real influence?

What’s happened

As an officer of the City of London Corporation, the municipal governing body
of the City of London, Luder is charged with promoting the interests of the
Square Mile as the world’s leading international financial and business centre.

The cheekier or braver commentators out there might say that Luder’s job is
nothing more than a symbolic one with no real power.

They might also say he’s just there to head up a procession of floats at the
Lord Mayor’s Show before racking up the air miles jetting across the globe to
other financial powerhouse locations.

But that’s not to say the Grant Thornton man isn’t more than qualified to
give ailing blue chips the benefit of his experience.

What’s going to happen?

With all the talk of companies upping sticks and changing their tax
residencies, Luder’s CV includes specialising in the tax affairs of professional
partnerships and their partners, professional institutions and charities, as
well as internationally mobile executives, and could give businesses the shot in
the arm they need.

Keeping the Lehman Brothers saga in mind, Luder is also no stranger to
company upheaval. He qualified as a chartered accountant and as a chartered tax
adviser with Arthur Andersen before leaving in the upheavals of 2002.

To give him his due, Luder’s role will also include hosting meetings with
incoming business and overseas government visitors, for example meetings with
finance ministers.

And in a financial world where uncertainty is the watchword, having Luder as
Lord Mayor might just make the difference when it comes to keeping and wooing
businesses to the UK.

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