Chris Grigg will chair the new UK Infrastructure Bank. Photograph: British Land Chris Grigg will chair the new UK Infrastructure Bank. Photograph: British Land

Chair named for new infrastructure bank

The government has appointed the former treasurer of Barclays Bank and recently retired chief executive of British Land to hold the reins at the UK Infrastructure Bank, which will help the country meet its net zero target.

Chris Grigg was the leading candidate for the job, having been an unpaid advisor to the Treasury on setting up the bank since December. He has more than three decades of experience in the real estate and financial services industries, including 20 years rising to partner level at Goldman Sachs.

“It is a great privilege to be the inaugural chair of the UK Infrastructure Bank. I am excited to lead this organisation as we build it from the ground up and ensure it provides vital financing for the UK infrastructure market and local authorities to support the transition to net zero and spread economic opportunity across the whole of the UK. I look forward to getting started,” Grigg said. His initial term will be for three years, with a possible reappointment for another three.

He was among 21 people who applied and begins the role today. The bank will launch, in interim form, later in the spring, backed by £5bn of equity, £7bn of debt and £10bn of government guarantees. The sum is thought sufficient to unlock more than £40bn to finance key infrastructure projects across the country and is vastly more than the defunct Green Investment Bank’s initial capitalisation of only £3bn. It will have a specific mandate to prioritise decarbonisation.

Its headquarters will be in Leeds, as part of government efforts to distribute public sector jobs outside the capital.

Grigg was appointed CBE for Covid response in the New Year’s Honours. He will remain on the board of arms and aerospace firm BAE Systems, in a non-executive role, which the government considered would not clash with chairing the bank.

Financial secretary Jesse Norman said: “I am delighted that Chris Grigg CBE has agreed to serve as chair of the new UK Infrastructure Bank. He brings a great deal of useful experience to this important role, and I look forward to working closely with him.”

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