Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist and one of its most prominent public figures, has quit to become chief executive of the Royal Society for Arts thinktank.
One of the UK’s leading economists, Haldane, 53, will step down from Threadneedle Street’s rate-setting monetary policy committee (MPC) after the panel meets in June. He will take up his post at the RSA in September.
In a surprise move after 32 years at the Bank, he will succeed Matthew Taylor at the 267-year-old charitable institution, which operates under royal charter to promote ideas for improving the economy, arts, society and raising living standards.
Haldane’s departure means the Bank will now advertise for a successor to replace him as chief economist, as well as on the nine-member MPC – which sets interest rates at regular intervals and assesses the outlook for growth and jobs.
The Yorkshire-born economist had built a reputation for making attention-grabbing speeches during the Covid pandemic, inserting memorable and easily understood phrases into speeches. A savvy PR operator, he argued last summer that the economy was heading for a “V-shaped” recovery from Covid before the second wave struck, while chided media coverage focusing on negative economic developments as self-fulfilling “Chicken Licken” pessimism.
However, he has also drawn criticism for making boosterish comments that led the Daily Mail to declare on its front page that Haldane was “Mr Boom”.
David Blanchflower, a former member of the MPC, said dissenting voices on the panel were important, but added: “ He was dissenting on the wrong side. He should not have been saying there’s going to be lots of inflation. There isn’t. Most of what he said was based on wild guesses and wishful thinking.
“It’s not what you’d expect from the chief economist, but what you might expect from a commentator on a news programme.”
Haldane’s departure will raise questions over future interest rate decisions and the diversity of opinion on the MPC, after losing one of its most optimistic and outspoken members. Andrew Sentance, another former member of the panel, said: “The MPC is already a pretty bland entity. So losing Andy Haldane is a reduction in