Shareholder Executive

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Shareholder Executive
Agency overview
FormedMay 2003
Dissolved1 April 2016 (2016-04-01)
Superseding agency
Minister responsible
Deputy Minister responsible
Agency executives
Parent departmentDepartment for Business, Innovation and Skills

The Shareholder Executive (ShEx) was a body within the UK Government responsible for managing the government's financial interest in a range of state-owned businesses for commercial rather than political interests. It was part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and staffed by civil servants, many of whom were corporate finance professionals with private sector experience. It was led by Mark Russell as Chief Executive at the time of its closure.


The Shareholder Executive managed a portfolio of businesses with a combined turnover of around £12 billion. The businesses varied and could be in the form of a limited company, public limited company, limited liability partnership, statutory corporation, trading fund, executive agency, non-departmental public body or non-ministerial government department.

It advised the government on drafting parts of the Postal Services Act 2011 and worked on the privatisation of Royal Mail and the possible mutualisation of Post Office Ltd. It was also involved in establishing the UK Green Investment Bank, the Public Data Group and the British Business Bank.[1]

It was not responsible for the government's shares in UK banks, which were managed by UK Financial Investments (UKFI), or the government's property holdings, which were managed by the Government Property Unit (GPU).


The Shareholder Executive was originally established in September 2003 as part of the Cabinet Office. In 2004 it moved to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

In 2007 the National Audit Office published a report into the Shareholder Executive. This was broadly positive but had some misgivings about its location in the DTI.

Following the split of the DTI in 2007, ShEX moved to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) and then to its successor, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in 2009.

The Shareholder Executive was originally involved in the government's nationalisation of Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley at the start of the banking crisis in 2008. It then began the process of splitting off Northern Rock's 'bad bank' mortgage business to form Northern Rock. All bank shareholdings were transferred to UK Financial Investments in November 2008.

In 2011 the Government Property Unit was moved from the Shareholder Executive to the Cabinet Office as part of the new Efficiency and Reform Group.

In 2015, the government announced that the Shareholder Executive would be transferred to HM Treasury and became subsidiary of UK Government Investments, along with UK Financial Investments.[2] This was due to occur with the end of the government fiscal year on 1 April 2016.

Portfolio Unit[edit]

The Portfolio Unit contains businesses where the Shareholder Executive has a shareholding mandate, although the shares themselves are owned by government departments.[3] Its role is either accountable to ministers directly ('executive'), working alongside shareholding teams within departments ('joint team') or advising department shareholder teams ('advisory'). Most businesses are wholly owned by the government, but some are part owned.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy[edit]

Department for Culture, Media and Sport[edit]

Department for International Development[edit]

Department for Transport[edit]

Department for Work and Pensions[edit]

Department of Energy and Climate Change[edit]

HM Treasury[edit]

Ministry of Defence[edit]

Corporate Finance Practice[edit]

The Corporate Finance Practice contains businesses where the Shareholder Executive has no clear shareholding mandate and its only role is to provide advice to the relevant government department.[4]

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills[edit]

Department for Culture, Media and Sport[edit]

Department of Health[edit]

Ministry of Defence[edit]

Former businesses[edit]

The Shareholder Executive has previously been responsible for a number of other businesses that have since either been sold, moved to other areas of government or dissolved.

See also[edit]

UK Financial Investments


  1. ^ "About us". Shareholder Executive.
  2. ^ "Machinery of government: Shareholder Executive and UK Financial Investments – Press releases". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Portfolio Unit". Shareholder Executive.
  4. ^ "Corporate Finance Practice". Shareholder Executive.

External links[edit]