St Andrews-born banker Roger Gifford has been elected to the prestigious role of Lord Mayor of London, breaking the eight year succession of accountants and lawyers who held the role before him.
Educated at St Andrews’ New Park School – now part of St Leonard’s School, Gifford graduated from Trinity College, Oxford with a degree in Chemistry before beginning his career as a merchant banker at S.G. Warburg & Co. He is currently the head of the Swedish Skandinaviska Enskilda Bank’s UK branch.
Speaking after his election, he said: “As the first banker to serve as Lord Mayor for some time, I am determined to help more people understand banking’s proper role in society.
“I know from my career that through the financing of projects, companies and institutions, banks play a concrete part in society but this is a side of banking that many people know less about.”
The Lord Mayor acts as an ambassador for the City of London and serves a one-year term. The position is unpaid.
“If you are going to give up a year of your life to serve your local community, it is unusual to find a banker,” commented the current Lord Mayor of London, lawyer David Wootton.
Gifford is already involved in the running of the City of London Corporation, the governing body of the globally influential financial district of London. As Lord Mayor, he aims to promote industry and entrepreneurialism as well as the financial sector.
He told the Financial Times: “Service is, and must be, at the heart of the financial services industry of the UK. In other words that the City must serve society – and be seen to do so.”
The Lord Mayor is traditionally bestowed his title at the Lord Mayor’s Show, a nationally televised street parade of 5,000 participants which takes place this year on Saturday 10 November. It will culminate in Gifford swearing his allegiance to the crown at the Royal Courts of Justice.
The 800-year old event is the oldest civic procession in the world and its scale and tradition serve as a reminder that Lord Mayor was once one of the most influential offices in the UK.