Hakluyt chief Chandra lined up for top Labour business role  | Business News

The boss of Hakluyt, the corporate intelligence firm, is being lined up for a top business role in Sir Keir Starmer’s fledgling Labour administration.

Sky News has learnt that Varun Chandra, who has been Hakluyt’s managing partner since 2019, is in advanced talks to join the government.

Sources said on Tuesday that he was likely to take on a senior business liaison role in 10 Downing Street – a role occupied by Lord Petitgas, the former Morgan Stanley banker, in Rishi Sunak’s administration.

Like Lord Petitgas, Mr Chandra is an ex-Lehman Brothers banker who went on to establish the regulated business operations of Tony Blair, the former prime minister.

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Hakluyt is a privately owned firm which specialises in corporate intelligence for clients – an area which has become increasingly lucrative in the complex geopolitical arena confronting multinational companies.

Labour sources cautioned on Tuesday that a role for Mr Chandra had yet to be finalised and that he could yet take an alternative position such as the investment minister post held by Lord Johnson in the last government.

While the latter position would come with a peerage, it was unclear whether the Downing Street business liaison job would do so.

Hakluyt’s international advisory board is chaired by Lord Hague, the former Tory leader and foreign secretary, while Olly Robbins, who served as Theresa May’s chief Brexit negotiator, also works for the firm.

If he does take a role in government, Mr Chandra would need to dispose of his interest in Hakluyt or place it in a blind trust or equivalent structure.

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Hakluyt declined to comment while Downing Street did not respond to enquiries.

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