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Chuka Umunna lands lucrative job at JP Morgan – after criticising ‘reckless’ City wages when he was a Labour MP

  • Mr Umunna joins bank from PR company Edelman
  • He left Labour party in 2019 to help found the short-lived Change UK party
  • Did not reveal new salary but in 2010 said bankers’ pay should be made public

By Harry Howard For Mailonline, Published: 01:38 GMT, 11 February 2021

Former Labour MP Chuka Umunna has landed a lucrative job with US bank JP Morgan, years after criticising ‘reckless’ city wages.

The former shadow business secretary is set to lead the Wall Street giant’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  

The hiring makes Umunna one of Britain’s most senior Black bankers. He joins JPMorgan from PR company Edelman, where he co-led its ESG consultancy.

Umunna was a senior figure in Labour party before leaving to help found the short-lived Change UK party in 2019. He later joined the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Umunna and JP Morgan did not comment on the size of his salary, but in a 2010 article written in The Guardian, Umunna argued bankers’ pay should be made public.

In what was a reference to the 2008 financial crisis, he wrote: ‘How, after all, can we keep a track on reckless remuneration encouraging risky behaviour if we don’t know its true extent?’ Former Labour MP Chuka Umunna has landed a lucrative job with US bank JP Morgan, years after criticising 'reckless' city wages

He also said in a 2018 speech that pay should be linked to ‘contribution made’, adding that ‘pay incentives to deliver quick results are part of our problem’. 

Mr Umunna’s new job has echoes of his pre-politics career, which began in the city.

He previously worked for JP Morgan in a different, more junior role, and also for Credit Suisse. Mr Umunna was also a lawyer at firm Herbert Smith Freehills.

The former politician left Labour two years ago, when Jeremy Corbyn was leader, after a spell on the back benches. 

He had worked under previous leader Ed Miliband as Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills from 2011 until the start of Mr Corbyn’s leadership in 2015.

He did also run to replace Mr Miliband after he stepped down following Labour’s 2015 election defeat.

But he then dramatically dropped out of the race, citing personal reasons.  

Mr Umunna left Labour along with six other MPs to co-found the new pro-European Union party Change UK.

However, when the new party was hammered at the European elections in 2019, he left in to join the Liberal Democrats, becoming a spokesman on treasury and trade issues.

But at the 2019 election, Mr Umunna – who had been MP for Streatham – stood as a candidate in the Cities of London and Westminster seat, where he lost to the Conservative candidate.   

Although he was on Labour’s pro-business wing, Mr Umunna also repeatedly spoke out against corporate excess.

In 2011, he wrote to Barclays demanding that it provide a breakdown of the tax it had paid. 

He also accused ministers of not doing enough to tackle bankers bonuses following the financial crisis. 

In 2012, he tweeted a quote from an Evening Standard editorial that read: ‘A banker’s boot on the throat of small businesses is a boot on the throat of the whole economy’.

He also Tweeted: ‘It is essential we restore the reputation of the financial services sector given its importance to the UK economy and our global lead.’

And in 2018, he said during a speech that there should be a ‘regulatory framework linking pay to the contribution made and what can be considered just and proportional.’

He added: ‘Pay incentives to deliver quick results are part of our problem and hamper improvements in productivity which are the best way of increasing the pay of the UK’s workforce.’

Umunna follows a well-trodden path of former lawmakers taking top finance roles.

Last year former finance minister Sajid Javid took an advisory role at JPMorgan, while this month one of his predecessors George Osborne was named a partner at M&A firm Robey Warshaw.  

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