The model of a public servant

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The Independent Online
Howard Davies is the very model of a modern public servant, a man who has depressed his friends for years by compulsively over-achieving. He is sporty, classless and informal - and, for an Englishman, ruthlessly disciplined.

He is a graduate of many of the institutions of modern Britain. After Oxford, he went to the Foreign Office and Treasury, where he was a special adviser to Nigel Lawson. He joined the management consultants McKinsey & Co, whose influence made them a key part of the new establishment during the Tory years.

Mr Davies first became a public name when he ran the Audit Commission, dealing adroitly with extremely difficult financial crises - notably the Hammersmith Council speculation scandal. He became director general of the CBI, then deputy governor of the Bank of England. At times it has seemed that wherever public, official Britain touches the world of commerce at a high level, Howard Davies is near at hand.

Despite his closeness to Thatcherite politicians in the Eighties, Davies is not ideological. He once pondered a political career from himself, but was easily dissuaded by his wife. He will fit neatly into Tony Blair's new establishment: like the Prime Minister, Davies is an enthusiastic father to sports-mad boys and is married to a career woman.

Above all though, he is energetic, driven, hard to deflect, in work or play. He and his wife give parties which are famous for their complicated parlour games, and he is a good cricketer. As the ultimate umpire for the City, where rules have been blurred and conduct has been dubious, he is likely to introduce a rigorous regime that some will find uncomfortable.

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