Belfast Telegraph

Economic expert Esmond Birnie leaving PwC to take up Ulster University post

By Margaret Canning

Economist and former Ulster Unionist Party MLA Esmond Birnie is on the move from business advisory firm PwC, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

Mr Birnie is joining the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre as a senior economist after six years as PwC's chief economist.

He is the latest expert in his field to move jobs after Danske Bank chief economist Angela McGowan announced she was joining the CBI as regional director.

Cambridge graduate Mr Birnie was elected to the Assembly in 1998, serving as an MLA until 2007.

He then joined the Department for Employment and Learning as a special adviser to Sir Reg Empey and moved to PwC three years later.

PwC regional chairman Paul Terrington said Mr Birnie - also a regular Belfast Telegraph contributor - would be missed as a colleague and commentator.

"Esmond was one of the UK's most recognised and quoted economic commentators and he has helped widen both the understanding of economics and the debate around Northern Ireland's economic performance and prospects," Mr Terrington explained.

"His view have been regularly sought by both the UK and Irish governments and by the private and third sectors.

"We all wish him well as he joins Ulster University and their Economic Policy Centre."

Professor Neil Gibson, director of the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre, said the university would benefit from Mr Birnie's knowledge and experience.

"Esmond has made a great contribution to the debate around rebalancing the economy and I'm confident that his experience and expertise will continue to influence public policy," he added.

A successor to Angela McGowan as Danske Bank chief economist is to be unveiled next month.

Belfast Telegraph