Thursday, 3 March 2011

Some news just in: Sir Howard Davis quits the LSE

According to the guardian Sir Howard Davis, who I last met on a LSE alumni event 3 months ago in Cyprus, has stepped down. [Although I see strangely that his CV blurb does not show any doctorate or economist training skills... perhaps a typing omission?]

A likeable character and a good administrator will well meaning views of reform, who irked departments by the somewhat imposing way he would bring decisions top down, from the issue of how many masters degrees places would be offered to how phd's would be funded.

However his (too?) friendly approach to business meant that when he was the first chairman of the FSA, where he established the "softly softly" approach that resulted to the FSA being toothless to stop gross abuse by those it sought to control.

His approach with students was love-hate. Most loved his approachable way and his ability to survive frequent roastings that most vice-Chancellors would rather avoid, but his desire to bring controversial business buddies such as chairmen of BP in the board in spite of student opposition was hated.

In the end wikileaks sealed his fate as the eagerness of the school he commanded of getting to bed with Gaddafi was deeper than just Gaddafi's son having studied here, and just having accepted a 1.5 million phd from a Gaddafi affiliated foundation.

All these actions seemed to give increasing weight to those voices in the LSE that said that from a Fabian institution with outspoken minds the LSE was coming to close to giving the justification for the UK state's surprising entente with Gaddafi.

Although such links in the USA would be normal for good universities, his decision to go to detach the school from more embarrassment was the correct one, as the LSE was always special in being the alternative voice, and thus such allegations hurt its central image.

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