Alasdair Smith was a professor of economics and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sussex and is a former Chair of the 1994 Group. He is a noted international economist whose studies (often developed in concert with fellow economist Tony Venables) have been used by the European Union. He became a Deputy Chair of the Competition Commission in 2012 and is now an inquiry chair at the Competition and Markets Authority.
He taught for 9 years at the London School of Economics before becoming a Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex in 1981, and becoming Vice-Chancellor in 1998.
While Vice-Chancellor, he restructured the University, and helped create the Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
His pro-top-up fees stance resulted in the student union at the University of Sussex calling for a vote of no-confidence in his leadership in a student election in February 2003. The members of the student union voted against Smith in large numbers. Smith later referred to the vote of no-confidence as "a clever piece of electioneering by some of the candidates standing for election as Students' Union officers". From November 2005, the University of Sussex Students' Union conducted the Sort US Out campaign, which began at the Annual General Meeting of the Union with a vote of no-confidence in the University Council and senior management. On 27 March 2006 he testified before an evidence session of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology on the proposed change in provision for chemistry. On the same day, he appeared on the Channel 4 News programme to defend the possibility that Sussex would close its Chemistry department.
He announced in November 2006 that he was to stand down at the end of August 2007. His successor, Professor Michael Farthing, took over as Vice-Chancellor on 1 September 2007, while Smith remained at Sussex as a research professor of Economics.
He was a member of the Prison Service Pay Review Body from 2001 to 2004; and of the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body from 2007 to 2010. In March 2010, he became Chair of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body and a member of the Senior Salaries Review Body. In 2013, there was controversy when his appointment as Chair of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body was not renewed for a second term. He has been a member of the Determinations Panel of The Pensions Regulator since 2011.
At the Competition Commission, his cases included the proposed Barr-Britvic merger, the takeover by Eurotunnel of SeaFrance ferries, and a market investigation into Private Motor Insurance.
He is married to Sherry Ferdman.
- University of Sussex Bulletin February 21, 2003 and later editions.
- USSU Sort US Out history, December 16, 2005
- Motion of No-Confidence in the University Council, due to Poor Management and Financial Mismanagement November 2005
- Select Committee decides to hear evidence from Alasdair Smith