Peter Levene, Baron Levene of Portsoken

The Right Honourable
The Lord Levene of Portsoken
Lord Levene of Portsoken's official parliamentary photo
671st Lord Mayor of London
In office
Preceded by Richard Nichols
Succeeded by Clive Martin
Personal details
Born (1941-12-08) 8 December 1941
Pinner, Middlesex, UK
Nationality British

Peter Keith Levene, Baron Levene of Portsoken KBE (born 8 December 1941) is chairman of Starr Underwriting Agents Limited and was Lord Mayor of London 1998 to 1999.


He was educated at the City of London School and then studied at the University of Manchester where he graduated with a degree in Economics and Political Science.


Lord Levene is Chairman of Starr Underwriting Agents Limited. Previously, he served as Chairman of Lloyd's of London, the world's leading specialist insurance and reinsurance market, from 2002–2011, after having been Vice Chairman of Deutsche Bank. Prior to this, he held the position of Chairman of Bankers Trust International and was formerly with both Morgan Stanley and Wasserstein Perella. He joined United Scientific Holdings in 1963, a small company which grew into a substantial supplier to UK and overseas Ministries of Defence. He eventually rose to the post of chairman of that group, in 1981.

Subsequently, he was asked by the then Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Heseltine, to act as his Personal Advisor in the MoD, and then as Permanent Secretary in the role of Chief of Defence Procurement, a position which he held for six years. As UK National Armaments Director, he was appointed as Chairman of the European National Armaments Directors 1989-1990. He thereafter held a number of Government posts, as Advisor to the Secretary of State for the Environment; to the President of the Board of Trade; and to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was appointed as Advisor to the Prime Minister (John Major) on Efficiency and Effectiveness from 1992 to 1997, producing a report, Efficiency Scrutiny into Construction Procurement by Government. in 1996.[1] During this period, he also served as Chairman of the Docklands Light Railway and then Chairman and Chief Executive of Canary Wharf Ltd. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of J Sainsbury plc from 2001–2004, and of Total S.A., from 2005–11.

He served as an Alderman of the City of London from 1994–2012 and as Sheriff of London from 1995–96. He was Lord Mayor of London for the year 1998–99, in which role he presided over the Corporation of the City of London, and supported and promoted London as an international financial centre. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in the 1989 New Year Honours[2] and was created a Life Peer on 22 July 1997 as Baron Levene of Portsoken, of Portsoken in the City of London;[3] he sits as a crossbencher.

Lord Levene holds five other non-executive directorships in addition to Starr underwriting, as Chairman of General Dynamics UK Limited, as Chairman of Tikehau Investment Management UK, and on the boards of Haymarket Media Group, China Construction Bank (Asia) and Eurotunnel. He was also a member of the Joint Committee on National Security Strategy. He was appointed by the Secretary of State for Defence in July 2010 to chair the Defence Reform Group, a body set up to review proposals for changes in structure in the UK Ministry of Defence. This body reported in June 2011 and their recommendations are now being implemented. He speaks French, German and Italian.


Lord Levene is married to Wendy, Lady Levene, who is active in many charities. She is a trustee of the Jewish Museum and of the National Theatre. She had polymyalgia rheumatica and is a trustee of the associated charity, PMRGCA UK.[4] In 1989, she launched HMS Argyll, a Royal Navy warship sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Paviors.[5]

The couple have three children, two sons working in banking and finance and a daughter working in public relations. They have ten grandchildren who live in London and New York.

Titles and Honours



  1. Ward, Don and Crane, Alan (2003) "The story so far" in Jones, David, Savage, and Westgate, Rona (2003) Partnering and Collaborative Working, Informa Professional, London, p.8.
  2. "No. 51578". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1988. p. 7.
  3. "No. 54844". The London Gazette. 25 July 1997. p. 8547.
  4. "Meet the trustees". PMRGCAUK.
  5. "HMS Argyll - The Company's Adopted Frigate". Worshipful Company of Paviors. Archived from the original on 14 June 2015.
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