Alexander Leitch, Baron Leitch
|The Lord Leitch|
|Born||20 October 1947|
|Spouse(s)||(1) Valerie Hodson (2) Noelle Dowd|
|Occupation||Peer and Businessman|
Alexander Park Leitch, Baron Leitch (born 20 October 1947 in Fife, Scotland) is a British Labour peer and Chairman of Bupa and Intrinsic Financial Services. Having just stepped down as Deputy Chairman at Lloyds Banking Group plc and as Chairman of Scottish Widows plc, he is currently adviser to Lloyds Banking Group’s Chairman and to the CEO. He is also a Trustee of the Lloyds Banking Group Charitable Foundation. He is Chancellor of Carnegie College, Chairman of a new think tank called ‘The Centre for Modern Families’ and strategic adviser to a Prince of Wales charity called PRIME.
Lord Leitch's previous experience includes:
- Lloyds Banking Group plc (2005-2012) – a board member with a variety of roles including Chairman of Scottish Widows plc, LBG Risk Oversight Committee Chair, LBG Senior Independent Director and finally as LBG Deputy Chairman.
- Paternoster UK Ltd (2006-2010) – Non-Executive Director for four years prior to selling the company to Goldman Sachs.
- United Business Media plc (2005-2007) – Non-Executive Director and Senior Independent Director.
- Medical Aid Films – just stepped down as Chairman of this infant and maternal mortality charity.
- National Portrait Gallery of Scotland – chaired the raising of £17 million of funds to refurbish the gallery.
Leitch is the son of a Scottish coal miner and endured a childhood in near poverty following the Second World War. He was left paralysed down one side of his body during his 30s due to a lesion on his brain and thus "learned from personal experience the value of life insurance." He was educated at Dunfermline High School and was offered a place at university two years early, at just 16 years of age. However, he turned his place down and instead headed to London to work in the IT department of an insurance company. In 1965, Sandy started his career as a computer programmer, writing the first ever life assurance ‘search engine’ program in 1967. He remained in the insurance industry throughout his career, rising to become Chief Executive of Allied Dunbar before it was eventually merged with Zurich Financial Services in 1998. He was then appointed Chief Executive of Zurich Financial Services UK and retired in 2004.
Leitch became a life peer as Baron Leitch, of Oakley in Fife on 7 June 2004. In 2000, prior to becoming a peer, Leitch headed the New Deal scheme which aimed to encourage companies to take on school leavers. Having demonstrated his commitment to public service, he became Chairman of the National Employment Panel in 2004 and also led the Leitch Review of Skills which was published on 5 December 2006. The objective of the review was "to identify the UK's optimal skills mix for 2020 to maximise economic growth, productivity and social justice, set out the balance of responsibility for achieving that skills profile and consider the policy framework required to support it."
Relationship with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown
Lord Leitch is a close friend of Tony Blair and it is suspected that he helped Blair to gain work with Zurich following his retirement as Prime Minister. He became one of Blair's "most trusted business advisers" during his tenure at No. 10. Leitch is also described as a "confidante" of Gordon Brown.
Leitch has been married twice: firstly to Valerie Hodson, whom he divorced in 1997, and secondly to Noelle Dowd in 2003. He has three daughters from his first marriage, and a young daughter from his second. He lives in South Kensington, London and has a home in Edinburgh.
He is a keen follower of his local Scottish football team (Dunfermline Athletic) as well as having a passion for antique collecting and fine malt whisky.
He is a Freeman of the City of London. He has an honorary doctorate in Business Administration and a Fellowship from Carnegie College.
Titles and honours
- Mr Alexander Leitch (1947–2004)
- The Right Honourable The Lord Leitch (2004 - )
- "The salesman with a policy for everyone". Richard Wachman. The Guardian. 6 January 2002. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
- "no. 57334". The London Gazette. 22 June 2004. p. 7754.
- Darryl Lundy (21 September 2008). "Person Page - 19152". thePeerage.com. Archived from the original on 11 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-28.[unreliable source]
- Michael Seamark (28 January 2008). "The man behind Blair's new job: From miner's son to peer with power". The Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
- "Leitch Review of Skills". HM Treasury. 5 December 2006. Archived from the original on 15 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-28.