Robert Hough, a frontrunner to be the next chairman of the Northwest Regional Development Agency, told Baker Tilly’s annual dinner in Manchester last night that the region’s economy was better able to ride out a downturn than the South East. In a statesman-like speech on the current economy, the well-connected business grandee and Peel Holdings deputy chairman said: “The extremes are not as evident in Manchester and the North West. Our economy is more balanced, more diverse and more sustainable.” For the record, when Insider asked him about his chances of stepping up from NWDA board member to chairman, he politely declined to comment.
However, it got me thinking that if the NWDA chairman's job was decided on stand up comedy, rather than experience, Hough would probably win.
It's fair to say that Bryan Gray, the current chairman doesn't really do humour. And of the quartet thought to be in the running Felicity Goodey is rather earnest. The other contenders do it better. John McGuire likes a laugh, he once bellowed out that him getting the top job at RBS was because the rest of them "must have been pretty crap" and Geoff Muirhead once told me this joke:
"Swampy died you know. Aye, he had heart problems, they wanted to do a by-pass but he protested and said no."
And so finally, this is Robert Hough's joke from his speech last night:
Mao Tse-tung was being interviewed. “What do you think would have happened if Mr. Khrushchev had been assassinated instead of President Kennedy?”
Chairman Mao thought for a moment and then said: “I don’t think Mr. Onassis would have married Mrs. Khrushchev.”