John Nash (private equity)

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John Nash (Lord Nash) is a former venture capitalist and the UK schools minister.

He is the co-founder of private equity firm Sovereign Capital and ex-chairman of healthcare provider, Care UK. Sovereign Capital invests in companies in the following sectors: 'support services', healthcare, and education.

In September 2013, after being appointed to the House of Lords, Nash was made an education minister by Michael Gove, responsible for free schools and academy policy.

Education reformer

John Nash has long had an interest in reforming schools in the UK.

As education minister, he has overseen a massive rise in the number of state-funded, independently run academies and their subset, free schools, including the forced conversion (from state-run to independently-run) of a large number of schools.

Running (a few) schools in Westminster

Nash also operates a small chain of schools in Westminster.

In 2006 he set up Future (, a charity that 'aims to help young people succeed'. It was also set up as a sponsor of academy schools, and it currently runs a number of schools in Westminster, including: Pimlico Academy, which Nash is a governor of; Pimlico Primary; and Millbank Academy (a primary school).

His wife Caroline Nash (Lady Nash) a former stockbroker, is also a trustee of Future, co-chair of governors of Pimlico Academy, and chair of governors at two primary schools in the chain. In May 2016 it emerged that their daughter Jo Nash, who is listed on the parliamentary register as a staff member of the former welfare minister Ian Duncan Smith, also works in an unpaid role at Pimlico Academy. Nash has no teaching qualifications but has on several occasions taught history and is helping draw up a new curriculum, which has sparked concerns from parents and a teachers’ union. [1]

Future also established The Curriculum Centre in 2012, which determines and oversees the content of what is taught in Future Academies schools, as well as teacher training.

Future also supports a number of inner city projects for young people:

Private equity interests in education

Nash agreed to step away from all relevant business interests while a minister. The private equity firm he co-founded, however, has continued to invest in education companies.

A third of Sovereign Capital's investments are in the education and training sector. ‘For us, it has been a tremendous sector', says Michael Needley, who leads Sovereign Capital's education team. (See more on Sovereign Capital).

Political ladder

John Nash, a Tory Party donor, rose to ministerial level, in Lord Tim Bell’s words 'untroubled by the electorate', in the space of a couple of years.

  • 2010: Treasury adviser: Nash was one of four City figures invited by UK chancellor George Osborne to “question the unquestionable” in his austerity drive.
  • December 2010: Nash is appointed a non-executive director of the Department of Education board; Whitehall 'NED's are there to 'help decision making in the Department.
  • January 2013: Nash was given a peerage and made a Conservative life peer (becoming Baron Nash of Ewelme), making him one of the key voices on education reform in the Lords
  • January 2013: the now Lord Nash was appointed education minister responsible for among other things, academies and free schools and school capital (including playing fields). It is a role he has continued after Conservatives won the May 2015 UK general elections.[2]

Tory Party donor

Nash and his wife have donated in the region of £300,000 to the Conservative Party.

In November 2009, John Nash made a donation of £21,000 to then shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley, who went on to become secretary of state for health after 2010. It was controversial thanks to Sovereign Capital's interests in NHS reform and the UK's newly created healthcare market.[3]



See: Private Healthcare Network Map


  1. Rajeev Syal, Unqualified daughter of minister teaches in his academy schools, The Guardian, 12 May 2015
  2. Lord Nash profile,, accessed August 2015
  3. Kirsty Walker ,Tory Health spokesman accepted £21,000 donation from private health firm boss, Daily Mail, 15 January 2010