Politics in the Boardroom: Corporate Pay, Networks and Recruitment of Former Parliamentarians, Ministers and Civil Servants in Britain


  • We would like to thank Irina Waibel from BoardEx for assistance with the data on corporate boards. Martin Lodge and Will Jennings would like to thank Yuval Millo for his intellectual contribution to initial work that was the inspiration for this article.


This article explores an important aspect of post-career earnings in public life in Britain: membership of corporate boards by former parliamentarians, ministers and civil servants. It attempts to determine whether this group represents a distinct group within the wider network of interlocking corporate directorships in the UK. Further, it investigates the characteristics of those individuals who obtain appointments as non-executive directors to the boards of FTSE-listed companies after service in parliament and/or government. The analysis uses data on board membership and pay in Britain for more than 700 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange and over 7,500 directors and 1,000 former parliamentarians, government ministers and civil servants. The findings suggest that although this group is represented in the wider corporate network, these individuals are not more central than other directors and do not receive significantly different compensations once industry sector, experience and board role are controlled for. This article offers a novel insight into the interconnectedness of the public sphere and the corporate world.