Adrian Beecroft

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Adrian Beecroft

Adrian Beecroft (Paul Adrian Barlow Beecroft) is a venture capitalist and the chairman of Dawn Capital, which owns Wonga.com, the online short-term high-interest loans company. He is worth an estimated wealth £100m and is a Conservative Party donor.

Activities

Beecroft was previously senior managing partner at Apax, where he 'played a major part' that saw it grow internationally with over $20 billion under management and 150 professionals in eight countries.

He is one of a handful of external members of the HM Treasury Independent Challenge Group of civil service leaders, set up in August 2010. The group is tasked with "thinking innovatively about the options for reducing public expenditure and balancing priorities to minimise the impact on public services". [1] Or, in layperson's terms, to “question the unquestionable” amid the Treasury's austerity drive.

Wonga.com accused by trading watchdog of misdeeds

On 21 May 2012 the UK’s Office of Fair Trading said that Wonga.com had been lying to its customers and even accusing some of them of fraud. It said Wonga 'had sent letters and emails to some customers who had reversed payments to it alleging possible fraud and threatening to call the police. Customers in the public or financial sectors were also falsely told that being in debt was against their employment terms'. The payday lender is appealing the decision. [2]

Employment law reform report: make it easier to sack workers

In 2011 Beecroft was commissioned by David Cameron's policy guru Steve Hilton to write a report on employment law reform. His draft recommendations, leaked to the Telegraph, included the suggestion that unproductive workers should lose their right to claim unfair dismissal. He argued that incapable workers are being left to "coast along" and firms also feared expanding because new staff may prove "unknown quantities" who are impossible to sack.

the first major issue for British enterprise is "the terrible impact of the current unfair dismissal rules on the efficiency and hence competitiveness of our businesses, and on the effectiveness and cost of our public services."[3]

In May 2012 the Business Secretary Vince Cable condemned Beecroft's proposals to make it easier for firms to sack under-performing staff as "the wrong approach" and said the government should not be trying to "scare the wits" out of working people.

Cable wrote in The Sun newspaper that: "Some people think that if labour rights were stripped down to the most basic minimum, employers would start hiring and the economy would soar again. This is complete nonsense." He added: "British workers are an asset, not just a cost for company bosses. That is why I am opposed to the ideological zealots who want to encourage British firms to fire at will." [4]

Cable also questioned on BBC Radio News the appropriateness of an 'individual' such as Beecroft, a venture capitalist and Conservative Party donor, in authoring the controversial report. According to the Guardian, Cable had 'showed his irritation with the report when he told friends that he was surprised that No 10 has shown such interest in a report from a donor'. [5]

That same day an urgent question was raised in Parliament over the "no fault dismissal" plans. Junior minister Mark Prisk replying on behalf of Cable, who was away on business, said the government had taken up 17 of the 23 recommendations in the Beecroft report. Chuka Umunna, the shadow business secretary, described the affair as a complete shambles.

Education and early career

Beecroft has a degree in physics from Queen's College, Oxford. After graduating in 1968, he worked for ICL in the computer industry for five years. In 1974 he went as a Harkness Fellow to the Harvard Business School, graduating in 1976. He then joined the Boston Consulting Group in London. He became a Vice President of BCG Worldwide in 1982.

Affiliations

  • Chairman of the British Venture Capital Association (BVCA) in 1991/92 and represented Apax on the boards of over 20 private and public companies. He was elected to the BVCA Hall of Fame in 2009.

Beecroft has worked as Chief investment officer, Company director, Director, Investment manager, Venture capital in the following companies: APAX PARTNERS STRATEGIC INVESTORS LTD, APAX WW NO.2 NOMINEES LTD, APAX PARTNERS HOLDINGS LTD, APAX PARTNERS UK LTD, APAX WW NOMINEES LTD., APAX SCOTLAND VENTURES IV CO. LIMITED, PORTLAND PLACE S.I. LIMITED, EGX GROUP LIMITED, THE OXFORD ACADEMY TRUST, APAX SCOTLAND VI CO. LIMITED, APAX EUROPE VII NOMINEES LTD, APAX PARTNERS WORLDWIDE HOLDINGS LTD, APAX SCOTLAND V CO. LIMITED, NORTH YORKSHIRE MOORS LOCOMOTIVES, APAX PP NOMINEES LIMITED, IMPETUS TRUST, APAX SCOTLAND CC LIMITED, ALKANE ENERGY PLC, APAX PARTNERS EUROPE MANAGERS LTD

Political donations

Recorded by the Electoral Commission:

Date Name of donor Amount Donated to Subsidiary (parties only)
11/12/2006 Paul A Beecroft £54,576.00 Conservative Party Central Party
07/08/2007 Paul A Beecroft £12,500.00 Conservative Party Central Party
21/12/2007 Paul Beecroft £70,000.00 Conservative Party Central Party
10/09/2008 Paul A Beecroft £50,000.00 Conservative Party Central Party
16/11/2009 Paul A Beecroft £100,000.00 Conservative Party Central Party
01/04/2010 Paul A Beecroft £250,000.00 Conservative Party Central Party
19/07/2011 Paul A Beecroft £50,000.00 Conservative Party Central Party
28/04/2011 Paul A Beecroft £50,000.00 No Campaign Limited
27/10/2011 Paul A Beecroft £6,000.00 Conservative Party Central Party
12/12/2012 Paul A Beecroft £100,600.00 Conservative Party Central Party
04/09/2013 Paul A Beecroft £8,600.00 Conservative Party Central Party
27/03/2014 Paul A Beecroft £20,000.00 Conservative Party Central Party
30/06/2014 Paul A Beecroft £40,200.00 Conservative Party Central Party
22/09/2014 Paul A Beecroft £30,600.00 Conservative Party Central Party
23/12/2014 Paul A Beecroft £43,000.00 Conservative Party Central Party
[6]


Resources

Notes

  1. HM Treasury, Independent Challenge Group membership list, 4 August 2010, accessed 11 April 2012
  2. Russell Lynch, Watchdog accuses payday lender Wonga of lying, Evening Standard, 22 May 2012
  3. BBC News, Scrap unfair dismissal claims for lazy workers - report, 26 October 2011, accessed April 2012
  4. Vince Cable calls sacking plans in Beecroft report 'the wrong approach', BBC News, 21 May 2012 accessed same day
  5. Nicholas Watt, 'No fault dismissal' plan expected to be shelved quietly by Tories, guardian.co.uk, Monday 21 May 2012 08.36 BST
  6. Electoral Commission, Donation Search, accessed 25 February 2015