Profile: Former deputy governer David Clementi

It is a decision that has caused jitters in the City given there remains a vacant seat on the bank’s monetary policy committee which sets interest rates.

Clementi’s ‘retirement’ by no way means he is about to whip out the pipe, smoking jacket and slippers. He is about to become Prudential’s next non-executive chairman.

Pre-Enron this move may well have been seen as tantamount to a fully-fledged retirement given the ill-famed perception of non-executive directors.

But since a series of US corporate collapses due to misaccounting, the role of non-executives has been thrust into the limelight.

The posting will be no walk in the park, not least because Prudential’s business will continue to be looked at under the microscope. But, also because a government report is due out in the autumn following a review of non-executive directors by investment banker Derek Higgs.

In the last year, the assurance company has faced sharp shareholder criticism over executive pay and its failed expansion in the US.

But Clementi is no stranger to pressure or confrontation. As well as setting interest rates, he was responsible at the Bank for financial stability and is a director at the Financial Services Authority.

Before joining the Bank in 1997, Clementi worked at Kleinwort Benson for 22 years as chief executive, vice chairman, head of its equities division and head of corporate finance.

At Kleinwort he played a key role in the UK privatisation programme, including advising government on the privatisation in 1984 of British Telecom, the first global equity issue and later in 1991 in the privatisation of the electricity industry.

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