David Alec Gwyn Simon

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Baron Simon of Highbury went to Cambridge University and graduated in 1961. He left the Cabinet in July 1999, frustrated with the slow pace of Britain's advance towards a single European currency.

He was Group Chief Executive of British Petroleum from 1992-1995 and its Chairman from 1995 to 1997. He was also a member of the European Round Table of Industrialists a group of Europe's most influential pressure groups whose membership consists of approximately 450 European industrial leaders. From 1995 to 1996 he was a member of the European Commission's Competitiveness Advisory Group. Lord Simon was appointed Minister for European Trade and Competition by Tony Blair in May 1997, and kept the position for a year. When he was appointed Minister he resigned from directorships at Grand Metropolitan, Deutsche Bank, Rio Tinto Zinc (RTZ) and Allianz AG Holding. He put his shares in all these companies into a 'blind trust', except for BP, selling their shares for £2.25 million. From 2000 to 2004 he was on the advisory board of Unilever and in 2004 joined its Non-executive Advisory Board - the position he retired from in May 2009.[1][2]Unilever is an international manufacturer of leading brands in foods, home care and personal care products and services.


At BP he was the boss of Bryan Sanderson, who sits on the Government's Competitiveness Advisory Group Task Force, the Company Law Review Steering Group and the Enhancing Business Performance Task Force. No other company has more members on Government Task Forces. Rodney Chase (paid £962,000 in 1998) BP Managing Director of Exploration, sits on the Advisory Committee for Business and the Environment (alongside Dr John Harford of BP Solar) and the UK Round Table on Sustainable Development. David Watson, BP's Group Treasurer, sits on the Working Party on Sustainable Development. Alan Jones, Director and General Manager of BP Exploration, sits on the Oil and Gas Industry Task Force. Sir John Browne, Chairman of BP, sits on the Government's Competitiveness Council, alongside Sir Richard Evans of BAE Systems and C.K. Chow of GKN.

BP have paid for employees to work in the British Embassy in Washington and on the Foreign Office's Middle East Desk in London. They also have staff working inside the DTI.

In September 1999 a subsidiary of BP-Amoco had to pay $22 million in fines and compensation after admitting it illegally disposed of hazardous waste in Alaska.

In 1996 a Colombian Government report revealed that BP had been collaborating with death squads in Colombia. Campaigners against BP were abducted by the military and murdered. BP passed photographs of Trades Unionists and peasant activists to the Colombian Military and used the army to break strikes (BP spends millions funding the Colombian army - in 1998 they gave them an extra £39 million). The Colombian Government's independent ombudsman José Castro Caycedo carried out an inquiry into BP's environmental record between 1991 and 1997. His report was a devastating catalogue of pollution, illegal deforestation, water contamination and the dumping of untreated toxic waste. In 1994 BP received the biggest fine in Colombian history for serious environmental damage at five oil rigs.

In 1993 BP were accused of backing a coup in the former Soviet State of Azerbaijan, which installed a ruthless ex-KGB man as President. President Haydar Aliyev then proceded to sign a £5 billion deal which gave BP the lead role in a consortium of Western companies which now dominates the oil business in the region. A secret Turkish intelligence report accused BP of organising an 'arms-for-oil' deal with Azerbaijan, providing weapons and mercenaries to the new President.

Lord Simon was Chairman of BP throughout this time.

Currently Lord Simon is a member of the Centre for European Studies CEPS Board of Directors in Brussels, Belgium. He favours a European Free Market and the right of European companies to trade within the Union.

Other positions held [as of April 10, 2008]:

  • Non-Executive Director, Suez Group
  • Director, CEPS, Belgium
  • Member of the International Advisory Council, FITCH, France
  • Member of the International Advisory Board, Dana Gas Corporation
  • Senior Advisor, Morgan Stanley International
EU Revolving Door.jpg This article is part of the EU Revolving Door project of SpinWatch.
UK Revolving Door.jpg This article is part of the UK Revolving Door project of SpinWatch.



  1. Unilever, Annual Report and Accounts 2007, accessed 10 January 2010.
  2. Unilever, Unilever board changes, 05 March 2009, accessed 10 January 2010.