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Peter Mandelson’s New Labor

Peter Mandelson played a crucial role as a U.K. New Labor party's political kingmaker and stage manager of the center-left party’s political successes — and its failures.

Peter Mandelson

As the self-described third man in Britain’s New Labor triumvirate, the brilliant and ambitious Peter Mandelson never did become prime minister, as did the other two: Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Nonetheless, he played a crucial, at times controversial, role as a political kingmaker and stage manager of the center-left party’s political successes — and its failures.

Mandelson spearheaded New Labor’s doomed 2010 election campaign. He also served in both Blair’s and Brown’s cabinets and as an EU commissioner. With New Labor ousted from power, Mandelson, now 57, has signed on as a senior adviser at an institution where political maneuvering is not unheard of: investment bank Lazard. Hiring a high-profile public figure, of course, is a tried-and-true way to cultivate business. Lazard — with 25 senior advisers, including former Australian prime minister Paul Keating, ex-U.K.

Tory party chairman Archibald Norman and ex-Saint-Gobain CEO Jean-Louis Beffa — is eager to expand its already formidable global domain. Lord Mandelson, a onetime secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and founder of consulting firm Global Counsel (which he’ll continue to chair), ought to help Lazard woo not just corporations but also sovereign governments.

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