Peter Levene, Baron Levene of Portsoken
|The Rt. Hon.
The Lord Levene of Portsoken
Lord Levene at the World Economic Forum on Europe in 2010
|Lord Mayor of London|
|Preceded by||Richard Nichols|
|Succeeded by||Clive Martin|
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Lord Levene is Chairman of Starr Underwriting Agents Limited. Previously, he served as Chairman of Lloyd's of London, the world's leading specialist insurance and reinsurance market, from 2002–2011, after having been Vice Chairman of Deutsche Bank. Prior to this, he held the position of Chairman of Bankers Trust International and was formerly with both Morgan Stanley and Wasserstein Perella. He joined United Scientific Holdings in 1963, a small company which grew into a substantial supplier to UK and overseas Ministries of Defence. He eventually rose to the post of chairman of that group, in 1981.
Subsequently, he was asked by the then Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Heseltine, to act as his Personal Advisor in the MoD, and then as Permanent Secretary in the role of Chief of Defence Procurement, a position which he held for six years. As UK National Armaments Director, he was appointed as Chairman of the European National Armaments Directors 1989-1990. He thereafter held a number of Government posts, as Advisor to the Secretary of State for the Environment; to the President of the Board of Trade; and to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was appointed as Advisor to the Prime Minister (John Major) on Efficiency and Effectiveness from 1992 to 1997. During this period, he also served as Chairman of the Docklands Light Railway and then Chairman and Chief Executive of Canary Wharf Ltd. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of J Sainsbury plc from 2001–2004, and of Total S.A., from 2005–11.
He served as an Alderman of the City of London from 1994–2012 and as Sheriff of London from 1995–96. He was Lord Mayor of London for the year 1998–99, in which role he presided over the Corporation of the City of London, and supported and promoted London as an international financial centre. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in the 1989 New Year Honours and was created a Life Peer on 22 July 1997 as Baron Levene of Portsoken, of Portsoken in the City of London; he sits as a crossbencher.
Lord Levene holds four non-executive directorships, as Chairman of General Dynamics UK Limited and on the boards of Haymarket Group Ltd, China Construction Bank Asia Ltd and Eurotunnel S.A.. He is also a member of the Joint Committee on National Security Strategy. He was appointed by the Secretary of State for Defence in July 2010 to chair the Defence Reform Group, a body set up to review proposals for changes in structure in the UK Ministry of Defence. This body reported in June 2011 and their recommendations are now being implemented. He speaks French, German and Italian.
Lord Levene is married to Wendy, Lady Levene, who is active in many charities. She is a trustee of the Jewish Museum and of the National Theatre. She has polymyalgia rheumatica and is a trustee of the associated charity, PMRGCA UK. In 1989, she launched HMS Argyll, a Royal Navy warship sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Paviors.
The couple have three children, two sons working in banking and finance and a daughter working in public relations. They have ten grandchildren who live in London and New York.
Titles and Honours
- Sir Peter Levene KBE (1989–1997)
- The Rt. Hon. The Lord Levene of Portsoken KBE (since 1997)
- The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of London (1998–1999)
- Commander of the Ordre national du Mérite (France, 1996)
- Knight Commander of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (1998)
- Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary (1999)
- Fellow, Queen Mary University of London (1995)
- Hon DSc City University London (1998)
- Hon DSc University of London (2005)
- Insurance Leader of the Year Award 2009, St John's University, New York
- Awarded the Lloyd's Gold Medal for Services to Lloyd's, October 2011
Sinister: a Scorpion Or, the Stinger Gules.
- Who's Who 2011