DIARY: Finan retirement marks end of a Whitehall era

Mike Finan, doyen of Whitehall PR and last of a very rare breed, takes a final leave of absence from the Office for National Statistics in November.

Mike Finan, doyen of Whitehall PR and last of a very rare breed, takes a

final leave of absence from the Office for National Statistics in

November.



It might not be a name that everyone will recognise, but Finan has

quietly had a hand in some of Britain’s biggest headline-hitting stories

over the last 33 years.



Approaching retirement as senior press officer at National Statistics,

Finan began his PR career as a Treasury press officer in 1962 in the

same week that Harold MacMillan sacked Selwyn Lloyd as Chancellor of the

Exchequer.



A portentous start, but worse was to come. Barely a year later he was

leading Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies up the back stairs of the

Treasury to give evidence on the Profumo scandal.



Other career highlights include announcing the devaluation of the pound

in 1967, explaining decimalisation in 1971 and twice experiencing the

splitting of the Treasury.



Six Prime Ministers and 11 chancellors later, Finan has no regrets about

his time in government PR. ‘It’s a ringside seat on history,’ he says.

‘But with a ringside seat there is blood spilled because people will

always blame the messenger. But its an addictive job and it keeps you

young.’



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