Adair Turner, Baron Turner of Ecchinswell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Lord Turner of Ecchinswell
Official portrait, 2019
Director of the Confederation of British Industry
In office
Preceded byHoward Davies
Succeeded byDigby Jones
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
7 September 2005
Life Peerage
Personal details
Jonathan Adair Turner

(1955-10-05) 5 October 1955 (age 68)
Ipswich, England
SpouseOrna Ní Chionna
Alma materGonville and Caius College, Cambridge

Jonathan Adair Turner, Baron Turner of Ecchinswell (born 5 October 1955) is a British businessman and academic who was Chairman of the Financial Services Authority during the global financial crisis, serving from 2008 until its abolition in March 2013. He is a former Chairman of the Pensions Commission and the Committee on Climate Change, as well as a former Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry. He has described himself in a BBC HARDtalk interview with Stephen Sackur as a 'technocrat'.

He is a vocal advocate of monetary financing and "helicopter money" whereby central banks would directly finance government spending or cash distribution to citizens.[1][2] Since 2010, he has written monthly opinion columns[3] on economic and regulatory policy for Project Syndicate.

Early life[edit]

Adair Turner was born in Ipswich. He grew up in Crawley and East Kilbride (both new towns. His father Geoffrey was a University of Liverpool-educated town planner). Adair attended Hutchesons' Grammar School in Glasgow, then moved to Glenalmond College.[4] He studied at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he took a Double first in History and Economics and became President of the Cambridge Union. He was also Chairman of the University's Conservative Association. He joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1981.

Business career[edit]

Lord Turner speaking at the CBI Climate Change Summit 2008

He taught economics part-time following university. His career with BP started in 1979 and he worked for Chase Manhattan Bank from 1979 to 1982. He became a director of McKinsey & Co in 1994 after joining in 1982.[5] Turner was Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) from 1995 to 1999.[6] In this role he became one of the leading proponents of British membership of the euro – a stance he later said was mistaken.[7] From 2000 to 2006 he was Vice-Chairman of Merrill Lynch Europe.[8]

He lectures part-time at the London School of Economics, where in 2010 he delivered three lectures on "Economics after the Crisis", later published by MIT Press as a book under that title: this criticised conventional wisdom that the object of policy should be to maximise GDP, that the way to do this is to promote freer markets, and that inequality is an acceptable price for growth.[9]

In 2002, he chaired a UK government enquiry into pensions. In 2007, he succeeded Frances Cairncross as Chairman of the Economic and Social Research Council and Baroness Jay as Chair of the Overseas Development Institute's Council.

In 2008 his Building a Low-carbon Economy (co-written with David Kennedy) was published, and the same year Turner was appointed as first Chairman of the British Government's newly established Committee on Climate Change. He stepped down from this position in Spring 2012.[10]

On 29 May 2008, it was announced that he would take over as Chairman of the Financial Services Authority.[11] He took up this post on 20 September 2008 for a five-year term to succeed Callum McCarthy.

Financial Services Authority[edit]

Turner defended the actions of the regulator on the BBC's Andrew Marr show on 15 February 2009, saying that other regulatory bodies throughout the world, which varied in structure and lightness of regulatory touch, also failed to predict the economic collapse. He said that in line with other regulators the FSA had failed intellectually by focusing too much on processes and procedures rather than looking at the bigger economic picture. Asked why Sir James Crosby had been appointed deputy chairman when the FSA had said that his bank HBOS was using risky lending practices, Lord Turner said that they had files on almost every financial institution indicating a degree of risk.[12]

He did not apologise for the actions of the FSA, which had presided over the near-total collapse of several major banks, and accepted that it had not foreseen the consequences for Lloyds Bank of its merger with the ailing HBOS in September 2008. Despite controversy over bonuses for employees of Lloyds, he sought to justify bonuses averaging 15 per cent for his own 2,500 staff, arguing "If you're saying we should now cut the bonuses [of FSA employees], you're saying you should cut their pay by 15%".[13]

In August 2009 in an interview for Prospect magazine he supported the idea of new global taxes on financial transactions (the "Tobin tax"), warning that a "swollen" financial sector paying excessive salaries had grown too big for society.[14]

Institute for New Economic Thinking[edit]

In April 2013, it was announced that Lord Turner would be joining George Soros' economic think tank, the Institute for New Economic Thinking, as a senior research fellow in its London offices.[15] From that, he wrote a book "Between Debt and the Devil: Money, Credit, and Fixing Global Finance" Princeton University Press, 2016 ISBN 9781400873326

Global Apollo Programme[edit]

In 2015, he was co-author of the report that launched the Global Apollo Programme, which calls for developed nations to commit to spending 0.02% of their GDP for 10 years, to fund co-ordinated research to make carbon-free baseload electricity less costly than electricity from coal by the year 2025.[16]


On 7 September 2005 he was created a life peer as Baron Turner of Ecchinswell, of Ecchinswell in the County of Hampshire,[17] awarded in recognition of his public service to the nation (he has a cottage in Ecchinswell). He sits as a crossbencher.

In 2016 he was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society.[18]

Personal life[edit]

In 1985 he married Orna Ní Chionna, whom he met at McKinsey. She comes from Ireland, and was born c. 1956. She was Chair of the council of the Soil Association and a non-executive director of Northern Foods. Orna is a non-executive director of Royal Mail plc.


  1. ^ Turner, Adair (20 April 2020). "Monetary Finance Is Here | by Adair Turner". Project Syndicate. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  2. ^ Bank of England (10 June 2016), 'Breaking the Taboo: The Case for Monetary Finance' by Lord Adair Turner, archived from the original on 12 December 2021, retrieved 7 August 2016
  3. ^ "Adair Turner – Project Syndicate". Project Syndicate. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  4. ^ Mathiason, Nick (3 February 2008). "From blue chips to the green dream". The Observer. Retrieved 17 January 2023.
  5. ^ "Adair Turner answers your questions". BBC News. 28 October 1999.
  6. ^ Chris Giles; Brooke Masters; Patrick Jenkins (17 April 2012). "Favourites line up for beefier BoE". Financial Times. Retrieved 18 April 2012. (subscription required)
  7. ^ Jill Treanor. "Eurozone crisis will be solved – eventually – insists FSA's Lord Turner | Business | The Observer". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  8. ^ "Biography of Lord Adair Turner". 21 November 2012. Archived from the original on 5 March 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  9. ^ See review by Robert Skidelsky in the Times Literary Supplement 28 September 2012, pp. 9–10.
  10. ^ "Lord Turner to step down as chairman of climate committee – 21 Dec 2011 – News from". BusinessGreen. 21 December 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Lord Turner confirmed chairman of FSA in its hour of need". Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  12. ^ "FSA chairman Lord Turner: we got it wrong but we'll keep our bonuses". Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  13. ^ "'Not surprised' by HBOS losses". BBC News. 15 February 2009.
  14. ^ Financial Times, 27 August 2009 (
  15. ^ "Ex-FSA chairman joins Soros-funded think-tank – Tags: TURNER, Adair, 1955– INVESTMENT advisors". Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  16. ^ Carrington, Damian. "Global Apollo programme seeks to make clean energy cheaper than coal". The Guardian. No. 2 June 2015. Guardian News Media. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  17. ^ "No. 57754". The London Gazette. 12 September 2005. p. 11717.
  18. ^ "Adair Turner Biography". Royal Society. Retrieved 1 May 2016.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Director of the Confederation of British Industry
Succeeded by
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Gentlemen
Lord Turner of Ecchinswell
Followed by