Dr Andrew Sentance CBE is a business economist who started his career in the mid-1980s with the CBI and then worked at London Business School and British Airways before serving on the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee from 2006 to 2011. He was educated at Eltham College, Clare College Cambridge and the London School of Economics, where he studied for his PhD. He is currently working as Senior Economic Adviser to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). He lives in south Essex and is married with two children.
Before university (1958-77)
Andrew Sentance was born in 1958 in the Wirral, across the Mersey from Liverpool. In the early 1960s, his family moved to Shooters Hill, in south-east London, and he attended the local school, Plumcroft, before moving to Eltham College – spending three years at the Junior School (1966-69) and a further seven years completing his secondary education (1969-76). At Eltham, he started studying economics at A-Level, alongside maths and history, winning a place at Clare College, Cambridge, to study Economics.
Before taking up his place at Clare, Andrew spent four months working as a volunteer at a children’s home in Aboyne, Scotland, and during the summer of 1977 – when “punk rock” was at its height – he worked in a record shop called Recordsville near Victoria Station.
University years (1977-86)
From 1977 until 1986, Andrew studied Economics at Cambridge University and the London School of Economics (LSE). After completing his first degree at Clare College, he worked for a year as a petrol station manager for Petrocell Ltd and went on to study for an MSc in Economics at the LSE (1981-82). After a year working as a management trainee for the National Coal Board, Andrew returned to the LSE in 1983 to study for a PhD, supervised by Charlie Bean (who was later a colleague on the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee). While at the LSE, Andrew also collaborated with Richard Layard on a book: “How to Beat Unemployment”, published in 1986.
Andrew joined the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in September 1986 as a Senior Economist responsible for economic policy. He worked on a number of major projects, including the City/Industry Task Force which explored concerns about financial market short-termism. He progressed through a number of management roles, becoming Head of Economic Policy in 1987 and CBI Director of Economic Affairs in 1989 – at that time the youngest CBI director ever to be appointed. He established a number of new CBI surveys and helped to raise the profile of the CBI on economic issues through his media appearances.
His time at the CBI included the “Lawson Boom”, the early 1990s recession, and the UK’s brief period as a member of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). In late 1992, Andrew was appointed to theTreasury Panel of Independent Forecasters (also known as the “Seven Wise Men”), providing advice to the UK government in the wake of the departure from the ERM.
In January 1994, Andrew joined London Business School (LBS) as a Senior Research Fellow and went on to become Director of the Centre of Economic Forecasting in 1995. At LBS, he became an established independent commentator on UK, European and global economic issues and maintained a high media profile. He also acted as part-time Chief Economic Adviser to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), helping them to establish the Retail Sales Monitor which is now the leading private sector indicator of retail spending in the UK.
British Airways (1998-2006)
Andrew joined British Airways (BA) at the beginning of 1998 as Chief Economist. His time at BA included the biggest downturn and profitability crisis in the airline industry in the history of commercial aviation, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. In response to this turmoil, Andrew was one of the five senior managers appointed by Chief Executive Rod Eddington to conduct the Future Size and Shape Review, and the recommended business plan led to a strong rebound in BA profitability in the mid-2000s.
While at BA, Andrew also assumed responsibility for the company’s activities on airport regulation and environmental strategy, and acted as a public spokesman for the company on these issues. He was actively involved in discussions within the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on the aviation industry’s response to the challenge of climate change. He was also a trustee of the two main BA Pension Funds from 2002 until 2006, and Chairman of the Pension Funds’ Investment Committee.
MPC and Warwick (Oct 2006- May 2011)
Andrew Sentance’s appointment as an external member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was announced in July 2006 and he joined the Committee in October the same year. He served a shortened first term and was then reappointed for a full second term from June 2008 to May 2011. His period of office was the third longest of any external member who has served on the MPC, during which time he delivered a record number of official public speeches (27) for an external member of the Committee.
Andrew’s period of office included the global financial crisis of 2008/9, the ensuing recession and the beginnings of economic recovery. In response to this turmoil, the UK Bank Rate was reduced to a historic low level of 0.5% and the MPC sanctioned a massive monetary injection of £200bn through its policy of Quantitative Easing. In his last year on the Committee, Andrew argued for a gradual rise in UK Bank Rate to respond to the emerging economic recovery and persistently high UK inflation. Though this position attracted the support of two other MPC members in early 2011, the majority on the Committee voted to keep the UK policy interest rate unchanged at 0.5%.
Since autumn 2006, Andrew has also held a part-time academic appointment at the University of Warwick, and is currently a part-time Professor of Practice at Warwick Business School. At Warwick, he helped to develop and support research on the future “low carbon society”, resulting in the launch of the Warwick Low Carbon Society Initiative in 2009. He has also helped to develop the Warwick Global Energy MBA programme.
Post-MPC (June 2011 onwards)
Andrew joined PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) as their Senior Economic Adviser in November 2011 (click here for a press release about this appointment). He is working for PwC for 4 days/week which allows him to maintain his links with Warwick Business School on a part-time basis, as well as undertaking some other advisory activities.
In November 2013, Andrew’s first book Rediscovering Growth: After the crisis was published.
Family and interests
Andrew is married to Anne and they have two children, Tim (b.1989) and Rebecca (b.1991). His main interest outside work is music, and he is member of the south Essex band, Revelation. He also plays the organ at Horndon-on-the-Hill and Bulphan parish churches.