Colin Balmer was a long-serving financial director at Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD). He was the personal secretary of two MoD procurement chiefs and oversaw the privatisation of the former British military research center QinetiQ. He left the public sector in February 2006 after three years on the staff of prime minister Tony Blair.
In March 2007 he 'became a consultant for a highly discreet concern, European Business Strategies Ltd. Led by a former Royal Air Force officer, Michael Wood, the firm is, in fact, a highly active lobbying concern that specializes in defense and works for BAE Systems, Airbus Industrie and MBDA, among other giants.'
Balmer's arrival was seen as helping European Business Strategies gain wider access to Labour circles and his excellent connections in defence circles are expected to generate more defence work for the firm.
According to a government press release Balmer's career included the following highlights: He has been a Civil Servant all his working life having joined the War Office as a Clerical Officer from school in 1963. Following a range of personnel posts, he was appointed Private Secretary to three successive Government Ministers. Subsequent posts included Civil Adviser to the Army in Northern Ireland, Private Secretary to two Ministers for Defence Procurement, and the Assistant Secretary responsible for, in turn, General Finance, Procurement Finance, and the future programme of the Royal Air Force. He has also been seconded to the Cabinet Office and held diplomatic posts in NATO and Washington. On his return from Washington DC he became the Under Secretary in charge of developing the Department's overall management strategy and subsequently its financial management
- External Adviser to Foreign Governments, International Monetary Fund, May 2006. Given unconditional approval by ACOBA.
- Adviser on Whitehall issues, European Business Strategies Ltd, February 2007. Approved by ACOBA "subject to conditions, which Mr Balmer himself proposed, that he will not provide advice or information on major projects for which his new employer’s clients are in direct competition with QinetiQ, and that he will not be personally involved in lobbying Government Ministers or officials on behalf of his new employer or their clients"
- Intelligence Online April 6, 2007 'Powerful New Lobbying Voice'
- M2 PRESSWIRE June 5, 2003 UK Government Appointment of new Managing Director, Cabinet Office
- The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments Ninth Report 2006-2008 Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, accessed 6 November 2014