Former NatWest MD to chair Legal Services Board

The former managing director of the NatWest Group David Edmonds will be the first chair of the Legal Services Board (LSB).

The Justice Secretary Jack Straw announced today (22 April) he is confident that Edmonds, who will formally take up his post on 1 May for three years, will provide excellent leadership for the first Board.

“The aims of the organisation [LSB] are clear – to put the consumer first and to promote competition, innovation, and transparency,” said Straw. “As the first Chair, Mr Edmonds will take the lead in setting the strategic direction of the Board to ensure that these aims are met.”

The LSB, which has been created by the Legal Service Act 2007, will act as new independent and publicly accountable regulator with the power to enforce high standards in the legal sector. It will oversee other legal regulators such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board.

Edmonds, who was appointed after consultation with the Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips, has had a wide-ranging career from being the chief executive of the Housing Corporation to spending seven years as a managing director with the NatWest Group

His regulatory experience includes five years as director general of Telecommunications and two years as a founding member of the Board of Ofcom.

Edmonds also chair the NHS Direct board and has served for four years as a commissioner at the Legal Services Commission. He will leave both those posts in the next few months.