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Sir Kit McMahon

(Elected 2003)

Sir Kit McMahon, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and Chairman of Midland Bank (now HSBC Bank) is delighted to have been made a Fellow of Birkbeck.

‘I consider it a great honour,’ he says.

A Governor of Birkbeck for the past 12 years, Sir Kit was Chairman of the Audit Committee between 1996 and 2003. As an example of the role the Audit Committee can play, he cites the £18m Malet Street building project. ‘With such an operation it is useful to have a number of people to act as watch-dogs, to ensure that the College gets value for money,’ he says.

Sir Kit (76) was born in Australia, where he studied history and English (1947–1949) at the University of Melbourne, later teaching English literature there. Settling in England in 1951, he studied philosophy, politics and economics at Magdalen College, Oxford and then joined HM Treasury as an Economic Adviser. He spent seven years with the Treasury, with the last three seconded to the British Embassy in Washington DC. He returned to Oxford in 1960 to teach economics at Magdalen, where he was made an Honorary Fellow in 1986. The attractions of public service proved too strong and in 1964 he joined the Bank of England, where he spent the next 21 years – as Economic Adviser, Executive Director and finally Deputy Governor (1980–1985).

In 1986 he moved to Midland Bank where he was Chairman and Chief Executive until his retirement in 1991. He has now relinquished most of his non-executive directorships, though he remains on the boards of Angela Flowers Art Gallery and Bamber Gascoigne’s History World Ltd.

In the future he aims to spend more time in his Gloucestershire garden and delve into his family history, saying: ‘I expect I’ll be spending an increasing number of my waking hours crouched over my lap-top.’

Download copy of college oration for Sir McMahon.