Issue 03 Winter/Spring 2018
You need to be able to keep calm under pressure, be able to handle different high-intensity situations, be confident in your advice, challenge your principles when required, and be mild-mannered. The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s team, No.11 Downing Street April 2017 (Hayden: third from left)
warzones of Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Libya. The 24/7 nature of the job could mean that you’re told at ten o’clock at night that you’re needed on a flight at nine o’clock the next morning. Whilst it sounds glamorous on the surface, there is only so long you should do it, for your own health! One of my most memorable highlights was accompanying the Foreign Secretary to Cuba to meet President Castro – the first such visit since the revolution! Were there common traits among your colleagues in similar positions? We’re all similar in the sense that we all worked for the same political party and Prime Minister. Whichever department you work for – be it the Department of Health, Education, HM Treasury, you, ultimately, report to the Prime Minister, so have a certain loyalty to that person. How did a degree in politics help you in your career? A degree in politics is not a pre-requisite for this kind of work, but it can help you to understand political history, political theory, and political systems. The majority of my colleagues arrived in politics via a degree in law, or PPE. Ultimately, though, I think you need to have a passion for politics, as you have to throw yourself into working in politics, as it certainly isn’t a nine to five job. Why did you decide to step down as special advisor to Philip Hammond? After seven years, three Great Offices of State, and three election campaigns I felt I had achieved all that I wished to. I left in May this year, just as the election campaign began. Having risen up through the MoD, FCO and finally HM Treasury and No 11 Downing Street, it was time for me to find a new challenge. The job of a senior adviser is full-on – seven days a week, 24 hours a day, there is only so long you should do it for your own health! I also wanted to close that chapter in my career and embark on a new one in the private sector.
How do you think Caterham influenced you and your career path? School definitely influenced my career path, if it wasn’t for the opportunity to take an A Level in politics and David Clark’s vibrant, and engaging teaching of the course, I doubt I’d have ended up where I did. We would take trips to the House of Commons to listen to politicians and ask questions at events – one of the most memorable had been in my Upper Sixth year, when the class went to join the audience of BBC Question Time, and I asked a question of a cabinet minister on the panel. Little did I know then that, years later, I would find myself briefing and preparing cabinet ministers appearing on the same TV show! What is your favourite memory of your time at Caterham? Meeting my future wife at school! Lucie (née Hansen, OC 1996 – 1998) was in the year above, and we knew of each other, but it wasn’t until I returned from my first job overseas that our paths crossed again. What do you hope will be your next career steps? I plan to transfer the skills and experience I have gained working in politics and government to the private sector; being a special advisor to a cabinet minister can be like dealing with the CEO of a large corporation, in that you’re helping shape their profile, delivering on their priorities and providing strategic advice. I’ve just embarked on a global corporate affairs position within the financial services sector, working in cyber security in the banking sector, international financial sanctions, and the tracking of terrorist finances. What has been the most surprising thing to you about a career in politics? Perhaps it’s testimony to the calibre of Caterham’s teaching, but I can’t say anything has surprised me.