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He was educated at St Olave's Grammar School and St John's College, Cambridge (BA Classics and Moral Sciences 1964, MA, PhD, Research Fellow, Honorary Fellow 1999) and held positions at Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Leicester.
He joined HM Treasury in 1969 and was appointed Assistant Principal in 1970. He was Private Secretary to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury 1974-76. From 1979 until 1981 he worked for Barclays Bank. He was then Private Secretary to the Prime Minister (1981–83), Under Secretary HM Treasury (1983–87), and Deputy Secretary (1987–93). He was Permanent Secretary of the Welsh Office 1993-96 and of the Department of Trade and Industry 1996-2001.
He became President of St John's College, Oxford on 1 August 2001. He is by incorporation a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Oxford. He is also a Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Chairman of the Conference of Colleges, and Chairman of the Oxford University Careers Service, and a member of the Audit Committee. He is also a non-executive Director of Legal and General Investment Management (Holdings). In 1996 he was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and 14 July 2003 he became an Honorary Fellow of Cardiff University. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Glamorgan in 1999. He was appointed Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath in 1991 and advanced to KCB in 1999.
Scholar is a keen musician and received the Associateship Diploma of the Royal College of Organists in 1965. He was Honorary Secretary of the Royal Opera House from 1988-93. His son, Tom, is a civil servant who was appointed Chief of Staff at 10 Downing Street when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister. He has since returned to HM Treasury as a managing director and is the government's representative on the board of Northern Rock following its nationalization.
On 1 April 2008, Sir Michael became the 3 day-a-week non-executive chairman of the new UK Statistics Authority (UKSA), through which the National Statistician is accountable to Parliament. The board oversees the Office for National Statistics, following the "independence" which it obtained from ministers in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. It also has a duty to assess all UK government statistics from other departments. Following Gordon Brown's announcement of new constitutional arrangements for public appointments, Sir Michael became, on 18 July 2007, the first such nominee to appear for vetting before the House of Commons Treasury Committee and to have his nomination subject to confirmation by the House. Sir Michael officially resigned from the post on 31 March 2012; he was succeeded by Sir Andrew Dilnot CBE.
Sources and Further Information
- St John's College, Oxford
- Cardiff University
- University of Oxford Annual Review 2000-01
- Oxford University Gazette 16 March 2000
- "Whitehall veteran in frame for statistics chief post", Financial Times, 18 July 2007.
Dr William Hayes
| President of St John's College, Oxford