Nick Macpherson

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The Lord Macpherson
of Earl's Court

Official portrait of Lord Macpherson of Earl's Court crop 2.jpg
Permanent Secretary of HM Treasury
In office
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterBlair, Brown, Cameron
ChancellorBrown, Darling, Osborne
Preceded bySir Gus O'Donnell
Succeeded bySir Tom Scholar
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
4 October 2016
Life Peerage
Personal details
Born (1959-07-14) 14 July 1959 (age 61)[1]
EducationEton College
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford (BA)
University College, London (MS)

Nicholas Ian Macpherson, Baron Macpherson of Earl's Court, GCB (born 14 July 1959) is a former senior British civil servant. He served as the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury from 2005 to 2016.

Macpherson was Permanent Secretary to three Chancellors. He managed the department through the financial and wider economic crisis which began in 2007.

Macpherson was nominated for a crossbench peerage in David Cameron's 2016 resignation Honours,[2] and joined the House of Lords on 4 October 2016.[3]

Early life[edit]

The son of Ewen Macpherson and Nicolette Van der Bijl, Macpherson was educated at Ashdown House and Eton College.[1] He later attended Balliol College, Oxford (where he read Politics and Economics [4]) and University College London.


Macpherson first worked as an economist at the CBI and Peat Marwick Consulting.[5]


Macpherson entered HM Treasury in 1985. From 1993 to 1997, he was Principal Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer; he oversaw the transition from Kenneth Clarke to Gordon Brown as Chancellor. From 1998 to 2001, he was Director of Welfare Reform. From 2001 to 2004, he was head of the Public Services Directorate, where he managed the 2000 and 2002 spending reviews. From 2004 to 2005 Macpherson managed the Budget and Public Finance Directorate, where he was responsible for tax policy and the budget process.

Macpherson succeeded Sir Gus (now Lord) O'Donnell as Permanent Secretary of the Treasury, when the latter moved to be the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service in 2005. Macpherson came to prominence during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum when he advised George Osborne against entering into a currency union with any Scottish independent state, which was contrary to initial Scottish National Party plans.[6] He stepped down from the Treasury on 31 March 2016.[6]

Other positions[edit]

Macpherson was a visiting fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, and is a visiting professor at King's College London.[6]

Macpherson is Chairman of C. Hoare & Co and on the Board of British Land and the Scottish American Investment Trust.[7]

Personal life[edit]

He is the father of Fred Macpherson, frontman and vocalist of indie rock band Spector.[8]


Macpherson was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2009 New Year Honours,[9] and promoted to Knight Grand Cross of the same Order (GCB) in the 2015 Birthday Honours.[10][11]

Macpherson was nominated for a life peerage in the 2016 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours and was created Baron Macpherson of Earl's Court, of Earl's Court in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, on 4 October.[2][12]


  1. ^ a b Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4081-1414-8
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^'s-court/4586
  4. ^ Commons, The Committee Office, House of. "House of Commons – Public Accounts – Minutes of Evidence". Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  5. ^ HM Treasury (11 April 2001). "Senior Civil Service appointments at HM Treasury (press release)". Archived from the original on 5 August 2009. Retrieved 28 January 2009.
  6. ^ a b c Phillip Inman (4 January 2016). "Treasury permanent secretary Sir Nicholas Macpherson to step down". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  7. ^ British Land appoints Lord Macpherson of Earl's Court GCB as a Non-Executive Director
  8. ^
  9. ^ "No. 58929". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2008. p. 2.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "No. 61256". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2015. p. 3.
  12. ^ "No. 61729". The London Gazette. 12 October 2016. p. 21644.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Sir John Gieve
Managing Director, Public Services
HM Treasury

Succeeded by
Jonathan Stephens
Preceded by
Sir Robert Culpin
Managing Director, Budget and Public Finances
HM Treasury

Succeeded by
Mark Neale
as Managing Director, Budget, Tax and Welfare[1]
Preceded by
Sir Gus O'Donnell
Permanent Secretary of HM Treasury
Succeeded by
Tom Scholar
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Lord Caine
Baron Macpherson of Earl's Court
Followed by
The Lord Ricketts
  1. ^ HM Treasury. "Resource Accounts 2005–06" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2009.