RevolvingDoorWatch cases

Derek Taylor

Nationality: Britain

Former employer: DG Transport and Energy, Energy adviser

Date: August, 2009

New employer: Burson-Marsteller (lobby consultancy) + others, Adviser on energy issues

Institutional reaction:

"I regret that you have not introduced your request for authorisation in accordance with the provisions of Article 16 of the Staff Regulations. Nevertheless, despite the late introduction of your request, I can inform you that the Appointing Authority, as from the date of this decision, gives you its approval to carry out this activity, as described in your request".

Comment from CEO:

"CEO was shocked to learn how this case was handled by the Commission. Mr Taylor's request for authorisation was more than two years late and his work at Burson-Marsteller, and other energy interests, could constitute a real risk of conflicts of interest considering his former work at the Commission. We think the Commisison should have applied a full cooling off period or ban for two years. Instead, the Commission seems entirely unconcerned by this revolving door case. This case shows the stark reality of the Commission's handling of the revolving door".

Other info:

Mr Taylor's request for authorisation to set up a consultancy called DMT Energy was submitted more than two years after the company was created. It has had longterm contracts with Bellona Europe, Burson-Marsteller, and the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute. The Commission has not provided any evidence that Derek Taylor was directly reminded, before September 2011, about his obligations under the revolving door rules.

According to the Burson-Marsteller Brussels' entry in the EU Transparency Register, their 2011 clients included ExxonMobil, European Small Volume Car Manufacturers Alliance, Camfil Farr, Neste Oil, GE Energy and many others likely to have a strong interest in the insights of a former senior energy adviser with 25 years experience of working at the Commission. Source: Information from EU Transparency Register, viewed 9 July 2012: http://ec.europa.eu/transparencyregister/public/consultation/displaylobbyist.do?id=9155503593-86

Mr Taylor’s application for authorisation for his consultancy stated that he would not receive remuneration or other pecuniary advantages from the work. Information publicly available (via the website of the National Bank of Belgium) shows that between 12 August 2009 and 31 December 2010, DMT Energy Consulting had a post-tax profit of 95 975 Euros and that Derek Taylor and a Ms Christine Taylor are listed as directors and shareholders. Source: Information from the National Bank of Belgium: http://bcc.nbb.be/BCCIA0101/WEB/actions/Frames?LangIndex=E Even if Mr Taylor has not yet drawn a salary or a dividend from DMT Energy Consulting, it seems clear that his company was earning significant sums. We consider that the Commission should have clarified this situation as part of its efforts to carry out an assessment which was as thorough as possible. It raises questions about how effective the Commission was in obtaining and scrutinising all the relevant information before coming to its final decision. 

Despite several access to documents requets, we have failed to find evidence that the Commission fully explored the potential conflicts between Derek Taylor’s former role at DG Energy and his new roles at Burson-Marsteller, Bellona and the Global CCS Institute. There is no evidence that the Commission communicated with Derek Taylor’s new employers to understand his proposed roles more, or asked to see DMT Energy's contracts with them. There is also no evidence that the Commission consulted the EU Transparency Register and / or other external sources of information, before granting authorisation.

More information is available in the ALTER-EU report: Block the revolving door - why we need to stop EU officials becoming lobbyists: http://www.alter-eu.org/revolving-doors

Update 18 August 2015: Taylor continues to be a director at Bellona Europa (the environmental NGO with close links to industry) and a senior energy adviser at Burson-Marsteller, one of Brussels' biggest lobby firms. BM's clients in the energy field include: ExxonMobil, Westinghouse (nuclear energy technology), and Neste Oil. After he left the Commission, Taylor was also the European representative of the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute for two years.

Update 18 November 2015: You can also read about 15 other energy/ climate/ environment-related revolving door stories in our November 2015 report: Brussels, big energy, and revolving doors: a hothouse for climate change.

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