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Ten questions with...Ian Plenderleith (1961)


 Ian Plenderleith


 Ian Plenderleith's career was at the Bank of England, where he worked for 36 years, ending as Executive Director for financial market operations and, from 1997, a member of the Monetary Policy Committee.

After retiring from the Bank in 2002 he served a term as Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank in Pretoria.

Ian left King Edward's in 1961 and went on to study classics at Christ Church, Oxford.  He also has a MBA from Columbia Business School, New York.

1. What is your favourite memory from your time at King Edward's?

The quality of teaching - in my case, classics - which stimulated interests and enthusiasms that were light years beyond the experience of a boy growing up in a Birmingham suburb.  And one experience in particular: a school performance of Henry IV, Part II, which completely bowled me over and fired a lifelong love of the theatre.

2. Who was your most influential teacher?

Roger Dunt, head of classics in my time - old and gruff and not a modern teacher in any sense but with a wonderful ability to nurture one's interests, encourage one's enthusiasms and make one work to high standards.

3. Did you ever get up to any mischief at King Edward's?

In the Sixth Form I seemed to have an uncanny knack of sneaking into the wrong bar at the Gun Barrels and running into Common Room staff who shouldn't have been there either.

4. What were your career aspirations when you were at school?

Imbued by the traditions of the classical world, I wanted to work in public service - which is exactly what I did after graduating, with a 40 year career in central banking.

5. How did you reach the position you were in before you retired?

I joined the Bank of England after Oxford and found there a wholly fascinating combination of public service conducted at the heart of the financial system and demanding intellectual challenges in having to address public policy issues in a highly practical and real-time environment.  Having worked in most areas of the Bank's activities, including spells in New York and Washington DC, I finished as Executive Director responsible for the financial markets and an inaugural member if the Monetary Policy Committee.

6. What is the highlight of your career to date?

Helping, as a member of the Monetary Policy Committee, to establish monetary stability and low inflation as a basis for the economy to achieve real and sustainable growth - which it will again, once we come through the present crisis.

7. What achievement in your life are you proudest of?

After my retirement from the Bank of England, I served a term as Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank in Pretoria and so had a chance to help build the new democracy in South Africa after apartheid.  But that is a professional achievement.  In personal terms, I take the greatest pride in my family.

8. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

If in doubt, do it.

9. What advice would you give to the boys at King Edward's today?

Carpe diem - always seize the chance while it's there.  The bus always comes at the wrong moment or before you're ready, but jump on it anyway because it won't come again.

10. If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?

Pericles - the Athenian who led the world's first democracy through an inspiring period of history and an extraordinary flowering of cultural excellence - and understood what was happening.