He worked as an economist at the Treasury from 1972 to 1985 and was private secretary to Margaret Thatcher between 1985 and 1988. Between 1988 and 2004 he held several positions with Marks & Spencer (in January 2004 he was sacked from his role as director of clothing, following disastrous Christmas sales) and in March 2004 he was appointed to the Board of the British Museum.
In 2005 he was appointed first chair of the Pensions Regulator, a post he held until 2010. He was also appointed Chairman of the Low Pay Commission in 2009.
In 2010 he was appointed Chair of the panel that would conduct the Family Justice Review ('FJR'). The rationale for appointing a man with apparently little or no relevant previous experience appears to be contained in the Ministry of Justice's biography of him: "As panel chair he will operate independently and objectively with no preconceptions about the way in which the family justice system currently operates." In other words, he was purposely chosen for his lack of connection with the family justice system.
The Final Report of the FJR was published in November 2011.
He received some criticism after the publication of the Report, including being described as "the man who hated children". His Wikipedia entry referred to above is also clearly biased against him: "However this economist has decided that fathers should not have equal rights to children."
In July 2012 the Government appointed him as the Chair of the new Family Justice Board. He will oversee the Board which is a "key part" of the reforms announced in the Family Justice Review.