Belfast Telegraph

Business View: The end of an era as Mervyn King leaves the building

By David Elliott

We've lamented at length on these very pages the increasingly sterile Bank of England interest rate announcements.

Gone are the days when it was worth a wager in the office to see if the central bank would raise or lower its key interest rate because we all know there's very little chance of that happening while the economy is chugging along like an underpowered lawnmower.

Even the question of more quantitative easing has become a moot one after the bank made clear that it is waiting for the many billions its pumped into the economy to take effect before opening that particular spigot further.

But yesterday, even though it was a big "no change" from Threadneedle Street, there was at least a little diversion as the results of the Monetary Policy Committee's Wednesday meeting marked the last for governor Mervyn King before he retires.

The silver-haired banker will be missed by many but will no doubt be ready to put his feet up having taken over the bank from Eddie George and steering it through unprecedented choppy waters, the likes of which could never have been imagined.

He visited Belfast recently for a CBI event and maintained a statesman-like presence throughout, although the companies he visited in Northern Ireland remarked how down-to-earth he was, after they'd got over the shock "the governor" was coming to visit them.

One of the unsuspecting hosts told this reporter he ran to check his bank statement after hearing of the visit to check the purpose of the visit wasn't to give him a dressing down for the state of his finances.

And while Mr King's time at the bank may not have been the easiest, he still maintains that a nine-month stint as a supply teacher in Wolverhampton was still the most exhausting job he'd ever done.

He revealed that news on Desert Island discs where, amongst a plethora of classical tunes, he chose Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited and Lou Vega's Mambo Number Five.

It would appear that Mr King was keeping these revelations to the end of his time at the bank but they do add a bit of colour to the man who has been driving our economy for the last few years.

We wish you a long and relaxing retirement Mr King.

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