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Opinion

From Putin’s banker to non-executive bottle washer

The saviour of a village pub turns out to have more on his CV than most publicans.

Last May, one of the UK’s most strident tabloid newspapers took a break from railing at immigrants to report on the heart-warming story of a rural community’s efforts to save its local pub from demolition. 

According to the Daily Express, The Baiting House in the tiny Herefordshire community of Upper Sapey – population 460 – was spared the wrecking ball after a well-off villager, Andrew Cornthwaite, teamed up with a group of local tradesmen. 

Cornthwaite and his wife put down £350,000 for the building, while the tradesmen – they do all appear to be men – undertook to do the renovation work. “I’m just a villager who wants my pub back,” Cornthwaite was quoted as saying. 

So who is this unassuming saviour? In the Express, he was described as a lawyer. Further down the article, this was expanded to “a lawyer who works in finance”. 

Modest

Cornthwaite – or possibly the Express on his behalf – is being modest. While he did indeed start his career as a solicitor, he moved into finance in 1993 with a role at BZW. That was followed by an eight-year stint at Credit Suisse and another eight years at Renaissance Capital in Moscow, where he established the firm’s ECM business and ended up as deputy CEO. 

Most recently, he spent three and a half years as head of international coverage and international global banking [sic] for Russian state-controlled firm VTB Capital. 

Perhaps the Express felt that “Putin’s investment banker” was not quite what its readers were looking for in a local hero. Or perhaps Cornthwaite prefers to keep quiet about his exotic career. 

His LinkedIn profile is certainly coy. It describes him simply as “banker and publican”, while “non-executive bottle washer” at The Baiting House has topped his career bio since February. 

Alas, it is now also his only role, following his departure from VTB Capital in November.

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