Finance

Phoenix chair Nick Lyons set to be elected as lord mayor of London

The chair of insurer Phoenix is set to be elected as lord mayor of London for 2022, the City of London Corporation has announced.

The two candidates in the running were Tim Hailes, a former JPMorgan lawyer, and Nick Lyons, chair of FTSE 100-listed insurer Phoenix, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Lyons won after an election today by the City of London Corporation’s Court of Aldermen, a group of 25 who represent different wards in the City.

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“The Court agreed that Nicholas Lyons shall be supported for the mayoralty in 2022/2023, subject to an election at Common Hall in 2022,” a letter published on the City Corporation’s website on 6 July said.

The Common Hall is made up of senior members of the City’s livery companies. It will meet later in the year to formally elect the lord mayor.

Hailes and Lyons were contacted for comment.

The election process has been marked by controversy, with the Financial Times reporting that questions had been raised over whether Lyons was eligible for the role as he is an Irish citizen.

After taking legal advice the Corporation ruled that Lyons was eligible for the post as he is an EU citizen.

Hailes — who is openly gay — stood previously for the role in 2019. Controversially he was asked about his sexuality in his interview for the post in 2019 and asked if his mayoralty risked being “hijacked” by the gay community, the FT reported.

The post of lord mayor is a largely ceremonial one, acting as the figurehead for the City of London both at home and overseas.

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The current lord mayor William Russell is serving an additional year in office until the end of November because of the Covid-19 crisis. Russell is a former Merrill Lynch banker and was previously a member of the advisory board of fintech industry body Innovate Finance.

Russell will be succeeded as lord mayor in December by DLA Piper finance partner Vincent Keaveny.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email James Booth

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