Philip Hammond joins board of Irish firm on salary of £125,000

Rob Davies
Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

The former chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond has found a job worth about £125,000 a year within a week of stepping down as an MP.

He has become a non-executive director of Irish metal and glass packaging firm Ardagh, which is listed on the New York stock exchange. The firm said Hammond had joined its board and would serve on its audit committee, which oversees financial reporting and disclosure.

Stock market filings from the US show that Ardagh, owned and chaired by Irish billionaire Paul Coulson, paid four “non-employee” directors $800,000 (£622,000) between them last year.

Hammond is understood to be in line for a package worth between £125,000 and £135,000 for attending meetings of the board and audit committee. He will also be reimbursed for any expenses he incurs travelling to the meetings at its Luxembourg headquarters, which take place about 10 times a year.

The former chancellor stood down after 22 years as an MP earlier this month after repeatedly clashing with Boris Johnson over Brexit.

The former MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, who lost the party whip last month after opposing leaving the EU without a deal, said he had been forced to stand aside because he would lose his party membership if he stood against an official Conservative candidate.

Any minister who is offered a job in the private sector within two years of leaving office must seek approval from the advisory committee on business appointments (Acoba) before accepting it.

In 2017, a report accused Hammond’s predecessor, George Osborne, of disrespect and setting an “unhelpful example” by accepting the post of editor of the London Evening Standard without first clearing it with Acoba.

Acoba’s website says its approval process helps avoid suspicion that former ministers are being rewarded for past favours and ensures that the employer is not gaining an improper advantage by hiring someone with information about competitors or about future government policy.

The process is also designed to ensure that former ministers and senior officials cannot exploit contacts at Westminster to aid their new employer.

“Former ministers are expected to refrain from drawing on any privileged information which was available to them when a minister,” Acoba says. “They will normally be asked to observe a two-year ban on lobbying government on behalf of their new employer or clients.

“Former cabinet ministers will normally be subject to a three-month waiting period from their last day in office before taking up any outside employment.”

Johnson sacked Hammond as chancellor in July, replacing him with Sajid Javid, meaning that the three-month period has now elapsed.