Shareholder Executive

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The Shareholder Executive is a body within the UK Government responsible for managing the government's financial interest in a range of state-owned businesses. It is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and is staffed by civil servants, many of whom are corporate finance professionals with private sector experience. Since February 2013, its Acting Chief Executive has been Mark Russell.[1]

The Shareholder Executive currently manages a portfolio of businesses with a combined turnover of around £12 billion. The businesses are varied and can 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.[2]

It is not responsible for the government's shares in UK banks, which are managed by UK Financial Investments (UKFI), or the government's property holdings, which are 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 abolition of the DTI in 2007 it 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 (Asset Management). 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.

In 2015 the Shareholder Executive was transferred to HM Treasury and became subsidiary of UK Government Investments along with UK Financial Investments.

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, Innovation and Skills[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. ^ HM Government website, accessed on 8 March 2013.
  2. ^ "About us". Shareholder Executive. 
  3. ^ "Portfolio Unit". Shareholder Executive. 
  4. ^ "Corporate Finance Practice". Shareholder Executive. 

External links[edit]