New Sheriffs will work to promote City’s post-pandemic recovery

Former Lord Mayor William Russell was knighted in the New Year's Honours list 2022

Two City of London Corporation Members have been elected to serve in a historic role dating back to the Middle Ages – and pledged to work to help the Square Mile’s post-pandemic recovery. 

Alison Gowman and Nicholas Lyons were elected as Sheriffs of the City of London in a socially distanced meeting of Common Hall at London’s Guildhall. 

The post includes supporting the Lord Mayor in his or her civic duties and acting as an ambassador for the UK financial and professional services industry. 

Sheriffs have served since Anglo-Saxon times and been appointed by citizens of London since 1132. The role, a precursor to becoming Lord Mayor, also involves supporting judges at the Central Criminal Court – the Old Bailey – where the Sheriffs work and reside – and promoting the importance of the rule of law. 

Alderman Alison Gowman has represented the Dowgate ward on the City Corporation’s Court of Common Council since 2002. She has practised as a solicitor in the City all her working life, specialising in commercial property at international law firm DLA Piper. 

She is a former Chairman of City Bridge Trust, the City Corporation’s charity funder, and is a director of the Green Finance Institute, a sector she hopes to promote during her year of office. 

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Alderman Gowman said: “Sheriff is a role that carries the weight of history but one which offers a great opportunity to play a part in helping the City recover from the pandemic. 

“I’m really looking forward to working with the Lord Mayor to ensure the Square Mile remains not just a global financial hub but a sustainable City with green finance at its core.” 

Alderman Nicholas Lyons has represented Tower ward since 2017, and has worked in the City for over 35 years, with extensive experience in commercial, investment and international banking, as well as the insurance industry. 

He is currently chairman of FTSE 100 life insurance and pensions company Phoenix Group and has extensive experience in the not-for-profit sector. 

Alderman Lyons said: “With significant domestic and external challenges, this is a critical time for the City to step up its leadership and support financial and professional services industries to deliver powerfully for the country at large. 

“Our businesses have shown their awareness of their responsibilities to society during the pandemic and we must all now build on that. This is an incredibly important time to be joining the civic team and I am excited and honoured to be elected to play my part in supporting the Lord Mayor and the City Corporation.” 

Aldermen Gowman and Lyons will take over from current Sheriffs Michael Mainelli and Chris Hayward, who are serving two-year terms due to the pandemic, at a ceremony to be held at Guildhall on Michaelmas Eve – 28 September.

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