Top economist Douglas McWilliams is taking a five-month break from running the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), the influential consultancy he founded in 1993.
The announcement came yesterday in the wake of allegations regarding his private life made in some Sunday newspapers. McWilliams told City A.M. that he has been “dealing with a series of issues” and wishes he had taken time off sooner.
“I’ve been working amazingly hard for 22 years, I need to take time off to reflect on life,” he said. “I couldn’t do it earlier. In retrospect, it would have been good if I had gone earlier – ideally I would have taken time off a year ago. But you cannot re-write history.”
McWilliams said the decision to take time off was made at a Cebr board meeting in November, before the public allegations were made. He plans to return to the job in August.
“Not all of the details are true,” McWilliams said, regarding stories that appeared in the Sun on Sunday and the Sunday Mirror.
The economist is still honouring his speaking engagements, including the upcoming launch of his new book on London’s digital and media sectors, The Flat White Economy.
He has briefed all the main political parties on the state of the economy in recent years, but denied he is an advisor to the chancellor – McWilliams said he has not met Osborne since he became chancellor in 2010.
The Cebr has expanded its influence in recent years, and recruited well-known economists such as Vicky Pryce.