A former Slaughter and May partner, who reportedly billed HM Treasury £32.9m for his work during the financial crash, has been appointed chair of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Charles Randell, who was at the magic circle firm from 1980 to 2013, becoming a partner in 1989, will take up the role on 1 April, HM Treasury announced today. He succeeds John Griffith-Jones, who has chaired the City watchdog since its formation in 2013. 

The £32.9m bill, reported by the Telegraph in 2009, came from Slaughter & May’s advice to the government on the implosion of Northern Rock and the Icelandic banks crisis a decade ago.  At the time, Lord Oakeshott, then Treasury spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, criticised the Treasury for not driving a hard bargain and instead left lawyers ’like a fleet of legal taxis in Whitehall with their meters running for months on end’.

The profile added that Randell ’cut his teeth’ in the 1980s as an assistant working on privatisations under the firm’s then senior partner Giles Henderson, building himself a reputation as a brilliant lawyer and familiar face in Whitehall. Another profile in the Times said Randell became known as one of the government’s closest advisers and was known for ‘having the ear of senior government figures’.

Randell is an external member of the Prudential Regulation Committee of the Bank of England and a non-executive board member of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Andrew Bailey, FCA chief executive, added: ‘I am very pleased to welcome Charles to the FCA. His experience of regulation, both during the financial crisis and more recently as a member of the Prudential Regulation Committee, means that he has a strong understanding of the challenges that the FCA faces and I look forward to tackling these with him in his new role.’