The school confirmed rumours of the new appointment late Thursday evening following a meeting of its Court of Governors.
The news comes as a shock to the City, which had expected Sir Howard to see out his term as head of the Financial Services Authority until January 2004. He had been chairman of the financial institution since its creation in 1997.
Sir Howard is to leave his post earlier than planned to take over as director of the prestigious university from 1 October 2003. He will take over from professor Anthony Giddens who helped develop Tony Blair’s thinking on New Labour’s third way policies.
Giddens said: ‘I have no doubt that Howard Davies will continue the tradition and reputation for academic excellence and challenging thinking which I have sought to enhance at the school.’
Lord Grabiner QC, chair of the Court of Governors, said: ‘We are delighted to make this appointment. Howard Davies is the right choice to build on the tremendous work of Anthony Giddens and further the school’s reputation for social science teaching and research excellence.
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