Blair takes up role with American green tech firm
As his former colleagues gather for state opening of Parliament, Blair heads for Silicon Valley
There were two former prime ministers absent from the state opening of Parliament today. Gordon Brown's notable non-attendance quickly sparked rumours that he may go back on his stated intention to serve out the parliament as a backbench MP, but absolutely nobody was surprised that Tony Blair was embarking on yet another lucrative international adventure - with a green technology firm in Silicon Valley.
The former PM, who stood down as both leader of the Labour party and an MP in June 2007, has taken up a role as an adviser on climate change with Khosla Ventures, a Californian venture capital firm that invests in companies developing clean technologies.
Blair will have to juggle his latest appointment with several other jobs. He already works as a climate change adviser for Zurich Financial and has a lobbying post with JP Morgan Chase. If that wasn't enough he holds a peacekeeping role in the Middle East on behalf of the "quartet" – the US, the UN, Russia and the EU - and is also available for public speaking engagements.
He has written his memoirs - for which he received an advance of £4.5m - and all in all it is estimated that he has earned more than £15m in the three years since he stood down.
Blair refused to say how much his latest job was worth, but admitted to the Wall Street Journal that it was "not a pro bono" role.
He paid tribute to his new employer Vinod Khosla, who was one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, saying: "I share a clear vision with Vinod, one of the earliest leaders in clean-tech investment, that entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and beyond will have a tremendous impact on our environmental future."
Blair said his role would be to advise on policy issues while Kholsa said: "Tony's going to help us in many areas that techie nerds in Silicon Valley like us don't understand."
Cynics suggest that Kholsa is aping rival 'cleantech' investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which counts another high profile former politician turned green activist - Al Gore - as a partner. ·
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