Connect To Prosper – Lord Mayor’s Banquet Speech

The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor of London Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli’s speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet

Monday, 13 November 2023


Remarks to: My Late Lord Mayor, Your Grace, My Lord Chancellor, Prime Minister, Mr Speaker, Lord Speaker, Your Excellencies, My Lords, Fellow Aldermen, Sheriffs, Chief Commoner, Honoured Guests:

My Sheriffs – Alderwoman Dame Susan Langley, and Alderman Bronek Masojada – and I would like to wish you a very warm welcome to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet.

The City of London is the world’s oldest democratic workers’ and residents’ cooperative.  It is an honour to be standing before you as the 695th Lord Mayor of London.

Continue reading

Remembrance Sunday – Mansion House Remarks

After our St Paul’s Church service at 10:15, we lay wreaths at 11:45 at the memorial in front of the Royal Exchange. Then we host 250 servicemen, reservists, and cadets at Mansion to curry and beer (and some wine). It’s a wonderful chance to connect. Here are my remarks:

Chairman, Fellow Aldermen, Sheriffs, Chief Commoner, Ladies and Gentlemen…
It is my pleasure to welcome you this afternoon to Mansion House.
This is only my third day as Lord Mayor of the City of London, so let me say once again how deeply honoured I am to serve you over the coming year.
Today, of course, is about remembering all those who have laid down their lives in service to this country, paying the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live freely and without fear of oppression.
Together, we also remember those who have suffered great loss and who continue to serve in operations overseas.
Both the City, and the office of Lord Mayor, have a long and proud association with the Armed Forces, and I look forward to strengthening those ancient bonds this year…
…highlighting the vital work our reservists undertake to keep us all safe…
…promoting the Cadets’ incredible contribution to their communities…
…and as a proud liveryman, celebrating the important affiliations of the City’s Livery Companies, with individual units across all three Services.
I am extremely grateful to everyone who has worked so hard to make today’s ceremonies such a moving tribute to the fallen.
In particular, thank you to:
• The staff of St Paul’s and the Corporation;
• The City Police;
• The Band of the HAC;
• And, of course, the Old Comrades and all the reservists who participated in the Parade and Marchpast.
Together, through these collective acts of remembrance, we pay tribute to those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom…
…and we give thanks to those who continue to serve and risk everything for our protection.
Once again, welcome, all, to Mansion House. I hope you enjoy the rest of your lunch. Thank you.

Your Own Lord Mayor’s Show – The Greatest Day Of Your Life

We held the Lord Mayor’s Show this morning. It is simply too difficult to express how wonderful the entire day was. My thanks to each and every float, to each and every livery company, to the Marshals, the Police, the Military, and most especially the Pageant Master, Dominic Reid, and the Chairman, Alderman Tim Hailes.

Judge it for yourself on BBC iPlayer!

Or at City AM (lots of photos).

The entire goal of the Show is to get the Lord Mayor to the Royal Courts of Justice to swear his oath to the Crown. Here are the remarks of the Recorder of London, HHJ Mark Lucraft KC, at that ceremony:

My Lady[ies], my Lord[s],

I am delighted to report that on the 29th September, Alderman Michael Mainelli was chosen by the citizens of London gathered at Guildhall and then elected by the Court of Aldermen to be the Lord Mayor of London for the year ensuing. 

On the 23rd October, His Majesty the King approved that election.   The London Charter issued by King John in 1215 required that the new Mayor be presented to the Sovereign, or in the Sovereign’s absence, to the Chief Justice, and it is my privilege to perform that task today.  The first time in the long history of such occasions when it is to the Lady Chief Justice.   I am sure all present join me in congratulating you on your appointment and wish you all the very best in the years to come.

Michael Mainelli was born in Seattle on December 19th 1958.   I note that Michael’s immediate predecessor as Lord Mayor, Nicholas Lyons, was born a day later on December 20th the same year – albeit not in Seattle.   Michael is the son of Michael and Katherine Mainelli.   Although born in America, Michael now holds no fewer than four nationalities.   He has been described as an American with an Italian name, an Irish mother, a British passport and a German wife.   That may sound like the start of one of those jokes that starts did you hear the one about an American, an Italian, an Irishman, a Brit and a German at the bar  ….

After High School, Michael went to Harvard.   He was there for seven years.   Whilst the norm may be four years, I hasten to add the lengthy stay is not because Michael is a slow learner – quite the contrary!  He was cramming a great deal in alongside his degree.   As part of his studies at Harvard he spent a year at Trinity College Dublin.  Michael also took on the role of researcher in the Harvard Laboratory for Computer Graphics & Spatial Analysis leading to several years of work split between Harvard and Switzerland working on the first complete commercial digital maps of the world, a period consulting on maps for British Leyland and managing a team working on in-car navigation systems.  I suspect the maps and any sat nav for British Leyland, knowing their lack of reliability at times, were to make sure the cars knew where the nearest garage was!

Michael came to London and undertook an MPhil and then a PhD at the London School of Economics.  Michael became a visiting professor at the LSE in innovation and IT.  In addition to his academic accolades he holds numerous professional qualifications including that of a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants and as a Certified Management Consultant.   Looking at Michael’s numerous post-nominals – it looks like someone on a well-known television programme has asked for 34 consonants and very few, if any, vowels!    

In 1986 Michael joined Arthur Andersen Management Consultants before becoming a partner of BDO Binder Hamlyn in 1988 where he remained for seven years.   From 1995 onwards Michael spent some six years as a civil servant.   He was the Corporate Development Director of the research arm of the Ministry of Defence, the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, and was involved in many multi-million pound deals.   At the same time he founded Z/Yen, a think tank on science and economics.   Since 2000 Z/Yen has been his primary focus.    The slogan for Z/Yen is “zest for enlightenment”.

Michael now undertakes numerous roles.   Alongside his work as Executive Chairman of the Z/Yen Group, his other positions include as an Emeritus Professor of Commerce and Honorary Life Fellow of Gresham College, Senior Independent Director of the UK Accreditation Service and AIM-listed Wishbone Gold plc, a City & Guilds Council Member, a Trustee of Morden College, and a Fellow of Goodenough College.  He is the recipient of numerous awards.   He is active in no fewer than fourteen of the livery companies of the City of London.   He is a former Master World Trader and a Waterman.  He is an Honorary Liveryman of the Furniture Makers, Water Conservators, Marketors, Tax Advisers, International Bankers, Management Consultants, Security Professionals, Engineers, Architects, Makers of Playing Cards, and Scientific Instrument Makers as well an Honorary Freeman of the Educators.   Since 2013 Michael has been the Alderman of Broad Street Ward. 

In amongst all of the things I have listed as to Michael’s achievements,  I should add that he met Elisabeth when they were both working at BDO.   They married in 1996.   They have two daughters Xenia, and Maxine.   Michael and Elisabeth have undertaken numerous projects together in their years together.   One was the restoration of the Thames sailing barge built in 1923, the Lady Daphne.   I have no doubt that with Michael as Lord Mayor, Elisabeth will be a very active and supportive Lady Mayoress and helping to steer things away from any obstacles to shipping! 

Michael has many interests.    He has published over 50 journal articles and more than 250 commercial articles as well as four books including one on economics titled “The Price of Fish”.    He plays the bagpipes.  In fact his own bagpipes have made an appearance in the Lord Mayor’s Show – played by an Australian PhD student at Goodenough College, Nathaniel Agnew.  

I know the sound of bagpipes is an acquired taste – some say that when you have heard one bagpipe tune, you’ve heard them both, or that the Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scots as a joke, but the Scots haven’t seen the joke yet, but they were known to be a favourite of the late Queen and it may be that visitors to the Mansion House will be serenaded in the evenings or perhaps waken to the sound of Michael’s playing.     

Turning for a moment to the 694th Lord Mayor.   Nicholas Lyons took as his theme “Financing our Future” promoting a resilient, resourceful, and responsible City.    My wife and I had a great holiday in New York in March this year and a short break in Copenhagen last month.   In the light of prices in both of those Cities I thought we might be calling on him personally!

Nicholas’ priorities have been ambitious and far-reaching, putting the City back where it belongs at the heart of the economy at a time when the country most requires it to step up and lead.    Nicholas has succeeded in many of his cunning plans.   His work on the Mansion House Compact – not the latest in cosmetics for a busy Lady Chief Justice, but significant work on pension investment has been commended by many in the industry and by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.    

It has been an extremely busy year promoting that theme both here and abroad as well as playing host to significant events in the City, and representing the City at the Coronation of King Charles the third.   I suspect that carrying the Crystal Sceptre at the Coronation service in Westminster Abbey will live long in his memory.   At all the many events, Nicholas and Felicity have provided a truly warm welcome to all who have attended the Mansion House or the Guildhall.  

Last year I spoke of Nicolas’ parents.   Today would have been his father’s 100th birthday.   Sadly Prof FSL Lyons died far too young aged 59.  Nicholas’ mother Jennifer, although not in this Court today, is very much with us.  As I also observed last year, Jennifer thinks that Nicholas is the best thing since sliced bread, and that’s mother’s pride for you!  

When I later told that same joke at an event at the Old Bailey for some, it took a while to sink in, whereas many of the nimble minded got it straightaway.   I think we can all join Jennifer in taking great pride in all of Nicholas’ achievements as Lord Mayor.   After a break to re-charge the batteries, he will return to his role as Chairman of Phoenix Group Holdings.

Michael’s theme for his year as Lord Mayor is “Connect to Prosper”.   Michael will seek to build on the work of his immediate predecessors – Vincent Keaveney and Nicholas Lyons.   His theme involves celebrating the many knowledge miles in the City of London.   Michael sets out in his manifesto that Cities are networked networks of connectivity and information sharing.  He describes London as the world’s coffee house where people bring their dreams to see them realised.   With all of the qualities Michael will bring to the role, I know all here will look forward to seeing Michael’s dreams for his year as Lord Mayor coming to fruition.”

Yes, our guests kindly listened to the above. And don’t miss the AR/VR that the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists delivered so I could have balloons on top of the floats, just like the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade:

Yet all parades must come to an end, and in a homage to the Macy’s Day Parade, combined with Rocky & Bullwinkle, the street sweeper always closes the show.

First Day In Office – 695th Lord Mayor Of London

At 15:00 on Friday, 10 November, we held the Silent Ceremony. I then took office as the 695th Lord Mayor of London. My sincere thanks to my predecessor, Alderman Nicholas Lyons, for doing such a great job and leaving things in great condition to continue moving forward. The following news coverage gives a flavour of plans for the year ahead:

Continue reading

Carnegie Hall? Practice!

We rehearsed the Lord Mayor’s Show today, in the official carriage from 1753, the longest continuously used vehicle in the world. But to have empty streets were were up at 03:30 and underway at 04:50. You’d think we’d yawn, but it was absolutely fantastic fun with hundreds of volunteers making everything special. Yes, that’s me practicing my hat waving.

BBC – “Lord Mayor: Rehearsals Held In City Of London Ahead Of 695th Procession” (the pedant in me points out that the Show began in 1215 so there have been (minus a few for wars and a pandemic) just over 800. It’s the 695th Lord Mayor, yes, but some Lord Mayor’s were elected more than once long ago, but all had a Show. And the trivia is that from approximately 1360 till 1860, 500 years, there was a land ride and a waterfront show, leading to the continued use of the word ‘float’ to describe an entry in a parade.

Election As Lord Mayor

Today was an an enormously emotional day for Elisabeth and me as, not only was it Michaelmas (!), I was elected as the 695th Lord Mayor of London for the ‘year ensuing’, from 10 November 2023 till 10 November 2024. My acceptance speech, and thanks to the Livery and City of London community follows, and, yes, it was a delightfully sunny day with the sun directly in my eyes for the photos:

Continue reading

“Teacher, Tutor, Scholar, I”

Remarks to: the Worshipful Company Of Educators, on the occasion of the annual Franklin Lecture, Mansion House, 18:00 to 19:00, Thursday, 9 February 2023.

“Teacher, Tutor, Scholar, I” – A Metaverse Of Education Or Conundra[1] Of Confusion

My Lord Mayor, Master, Aldermen, Sheriff, visiting Masters, Distinguished Guests, Ladies & Gentlemen,

Just two minutes ago, before coming up here, Stephen Bernhard asked me if I felt nervous. “Of course”, I replied. Stephen said, “I too always got nervous giving our company’s seminars, and I knew what I was talking about.” Thanks, Stephen.

Our Master [Caroline Haines] asked me to consider the future of education.  F Scott Fitzgerald said that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”[2]  My first idea is that something absolutely must be done to make education far more relevant to the modern world, while the second is that we have little idea what exactly to do. 

Continue reading