THE First Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Andreas Whittam Smith, will retire in June next year, after 15 years in the post, it was announced last week. A separate announcement said that the Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, will become deputy chairman of the Commissioners’ board of governors, replacing the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, on his retirement next February.
As First Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Andreas, a former financial and city journalist, was responsible for chairing the assets committee of the Church Commissioners, and overseeing its £7-billion investment portfolio.
Sir Andreas, whose father was an Anglican priest, also served as an ex-officio member of the General Synod and the Archbishops’ Council.
“After 15 years’ service, I think it appropriate and sensible to look towards an orderly handover to a successor,” he said. “I am proud to be leaving the Church Commissioners at a time when we continue to enjoy robust and sustainable growth, while contributing in a substantial and meaningful way to the ongoing operation of the Church and its ministry.”
Bishop Chartres paid tribute to Sir Andreas’s “outstanding” service. He said that he had “overseen the growth of the endowment, and steered the organisation through numerous turbulent economic cycles, most notably the financial crisis of 2008.
“Under his leadership, the Church Commissioners have led in responsible investment and in engaging with businesses on a wide range of economic and social issues.”