Institute of Economic Affairs Director General Runners and Riders

Now that Mark Littlewood has announced he’s stepping down as the Institute of Economic Affair’s Director General, one of the top jobs in wonk world is up for grabs. It is a high profile gig which will inevitably attract interest from all of Westminster’s brightest free marketeers. Littlewood steered the ship for 14 years; whoever comes next will have a lot to live up to. As well as formulating policies the IEA has incubated and nurtured free market talent – an important part of its role now the universities churn out ideologically uniform leftists. The job requires a mixture of talents: a policy guru with executive competence and a touch of media showmanship.

Here are some of the potential runners and riders…

  • Christian May – the former editor of City A.M., and prior to that, spokesman for the Institute of Directors has been spinning for corporates for a few years. He has excellent connections in Westminster and the media. If the IEA board are looking for someone in the mould of Littlewood, he’s an articulate media performer with executive experience of running an organisation. An homme sérieux with a sense of humour…
  • John O’Connell – has been running the Taxpayers’ Alliance for the last 7 years. He has a strong record of spotting and developing talent, sending numerous wonks and comms stars into government – talent spotting is an important movement function. Oversaw the TPA’s flagship Single Income Tax and 2020 Tax Commission, so is no stranger to serious academic policy development.  Has successfully maintained the TPA’s high media profile under his watch.
  • Douglas Carswell – currently CEO of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. Known for his pivotal role in the long struggle for Brexit and parliamentary defection to UKIP. People forget he contributed to the development of the Cameron’s manifesto and even wrote a best-selling wonk-ish personal manifesto. Has been writing more frequently for the British press of late. Does he fancy a return to SW1? 
  • David Frost – Baron Frost is said to be mulling over applying. The man who shaped Brexit in government has plenty of policy experience and a high profile. Whether the board will want someone who has made it clear they want to become an MP is another matter. He would also probably have to become a cross-bencher or take a leave of absence…
  • Juliet Samuel – the Times columnist is full of policy ideas and original takes on issues. Would she want to take on the demands of an executive position?
  • Tom Clougherty – Research Director & Head of Tax at the Centre for Policy Studies. Previously executive director of the Adam Smith Institute, and then editorial director in the Cato Institute’s Centre for Monetary and Financial Alternatives. Written extensively on pro-growth tax policy, which is probably bedtime reading for the IEA board…
  • Kate Andrews – Economics Editor at The Spectator. Ascended the ranks quickly in wonk world, working at the Adam Smith Institute before defecting to the IEA as their News Editor and then Associate Director. The veteran free marketer with all the right credentials is a fixture on Question Time, to the delight of Twitter. Does she fancy packing her bags and leaving Old Queen Street for another stint in wonk world?
  • Daniel Hannan – Baron Hannan is a former MEP and Board of Trade member. A founder of Vote Leave, and editor of The Conservative. Does the IEA fancy swapping one (soon-to-be) Lord for another?
  • Donal Blaney – The well-connected former head of the conservative madrassa, the Young Britons’ Foundation, latterly founder of Thatcher Centre has long-term links to American conservatives and donors. Would the “Rottweiler of the Right” really want to leave his lucrative legal practice and life in the Florida sunshine for Westminster?

The IEA is not without home grown internal candidates:

  • Shanker Singham – is the Director of International Trade and Competition at the Institute of Economic Affairs, as well as an Academic Fellow there. Currently heading up the Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project at Babson Global, part of Babson College in Maryland. Will he want to cross the Atlantic?
  • Alex Morton – Currently IEA Director of Strategy. Formerly of the No. 10 policy unit, Policy Exchange, and the Centre for Policy Studies‘ Head of Policy. Also acted as policy lead on Kemi Badenoch’s Tory leadership campaign last year…
  • Matthew Lesh – Also an IEA incumbent, currently Director of Public Policy and Communications. Previously the Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute. A good media performer, with sound op-eds in the Telegraph, the Times, and the Spectator. Impressed his IEA colleagues enough to add the comms brief to his existing role as Director of Public Policy. Could he go for two promotions within six months?
  • Liz Truss – Served a brief tenure as Prime Minister, was previously at the Reform think tank and is rumoured to fancy running one again. She is apocryphally the politician most hosted by the IEA, though Maggie might dispute that and her Energy Price Guarantee policy really didn’t sit well with the IEA. That probably hurts her chances more than being PM for all of ten minutes. 

The IEA are accepting applications now, so wonks should dust off their CVs…

N.B: The list above is not hierarchical. It is (mostly) arbitrary. Write that cover letter, Liz.

mdi-timer 3 August 2023 @ 15:39 3 Aug 2023 @ 15:39 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Mark Littlewood Stepping Down as IEA Director General

A big change in Westminster wonk-land, following Neil Record standing down after 8 years as chairman of its Board of Trustees, Mark Littlewood is stepping down as the Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, with the hunt for a successor to the 14-year veteran already underway. Littlewood will stay in post until the appointment is made, after which, all being well, he’ll head down the road to sit on the Lords’ red benches. A big change in Wonk World…

Littlewood tells Guido:

“It’s never easy to judge the right time to move on from a job you truly love. My time here at the IEA has been the most fulfilling and enjoyable period of my working career. I have worked alongside brilliant and inspiring colleagues and made lifelong friendships. But this feels like about the right time to move on. I feel if I don’t leave this role soon, I might stay here forever and however much that appeals in concept, change can be a force for good. I wish my successor every success in what is one of the best jobs in Britain and will do everything to support them in taking the IEA to ever greater heights”.

Wannabe candidates can apply here. New Chairman of the Board of Trustees Linda Edwards says they’re looking for someone who can “[uphold] the IEA’s legacy while leading the organisation into its next phase of growth and impact”. Does Liz fancy her chances?

N.B. Guido will be looking into potential runners and riders soon.

mdi-timer 1 August 2023 @ 13:59 1 Aug 2023 @ 13:59 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Mark Littlewood on the Truss Agenda

Mark Littlewood on his friend from his student days, Prime Minister Truss

“I suspect we are about to bear witness to the most radical British Prime Minister in over a century.

We can expect to see a whirlwind of activity and announcements from the very first minutes of her entering Downing Street. Given the speed she is going to have to operate at, there inevitably will be missteps. But the overall direction of travel in the Truss administration will be crystal clear – to move power and money away from the state bureaucracy and into the hands of ordinary men and women.

It remains to be seen exactly how far she can move Britain in that direction in the limited time she has available to her, but I can’t wait to find out.”

mdi-timer 4 September 2022 @ 10:11 4 Sep 2022 @ 10:11 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Live With Littlewood US Special

On tonight’s Live with Littlewood – US Special, we’ll be asking:

  • States of emergency: Which US regions handled Covid best, and why?
  • Disney Minus: Are corporations getting too “woke”?
  • Burning down the House: Will soaring inflation sink Biden’s midterm hopes?

Host and IEA Director General Mark Littlewood will be joined by:

  • Guy Bentley, Director of Consumer Freedom, Reason Foundation
  • Greg Brooks, Co-founder & President, Better Cities Project
  • Sarah Elliott, Spokeswoman, Republicans Overseas UK
  • Stephen Kent, Author & Director of Operations, Echelon Insights
  • Brooke Medina, Vice President of Communications, John Locke Foundation

Tune in from 6pm here

mdi-timer 20 April 2022 @ 17:30 20 Apr 2022 @ 17:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Live with Littlewood Spring Statement Special

On tonight’s Live with Littlewood, we’ll be asking whether the Chancellor’s Spring Statement will provide the security he promises. Will the Tories ever slash taxes? Is state largesse here to stay? And how can the government go for growth?

IEA Director General Mark Littlewood will be joined by MP Greg Smith, Economist Vicky Pryce, Duncan Simpson of the TaxPayers’ Alliance and the IEA’s own Christopher Snowdon.

Tune in from 6pm here.

mdi-timer 23 March 2022 @ 17:40 23 Mar 2022 @ 17:40 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Taxation Without Limit

Mark Littlewood warns Rishi Sunak…

“We’re basically at the taxable limit of the economy… The priority should be growth, growth, growth.”

mdi-timer 21 March 2022 @ 09:39 21 Mar 2022 @ 09:39 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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