MPs endorse appointment of new OTS chair but raise concerns over 'defective' appointment process
MPs have endorsed the appointment of Angela Knight as the new chair of the OTS but expressed concerns over her leadership and the way in which she was appointed.
In a report published by the influential Treasury Select Committee, MPs expressed concerns about Knight’s leadership, based on her role as the former chief executive of lobby group the British Bankers’ Association.
The report comes less than two weeks after Knight was grilled by the committee over her appointment, with some members suggesting that she has a “credibility issue” following her time at the BBA during the Libor fixing scandal.
The committee said it has concerns about Knight’s personal independence from the Treasury and that her appointment by the chancellor without any reference to Parliament “does not adequately entrench the independence of the OTS’ chair”.
It said the government should introduce a “double lock”, similar to the one set out in the Budget Responsibility and National Audit Act 2011, to safeguard the independence of the post.
As well as serving as OTS chair on a part-time basis, Knight also holds a number of directorships and advisory roles at various companies, including Transport For London, causing the committee to fear that she may not have enough time to carry out her responsibilities as chair.
“These concerns are not insuperable. People should not be barred from public office simply because they had the courage to take on the challenges of a difficult job in the past,” the committee said.
“The committee recommends that Ms Knight, acting on independent advice, should recuse herself from any specific OTS board consideration of issues which might be held to create a conflict of interests with her other activities, and that OTS board minutes should record this and be available for public scrutiny.
“Notwithstanding its reservations based on the evidence it heard, the committee is content to endorse Ms Knight’s appointment.”