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NERC chairman candidate says tough decisions inevitable

The man in line to become the Natural Environment Research Council’s chairman has told MPs that sometimes a chairman must make tough decisions in the interests of the research council, the parent government department and the country.

 “You can’t always carry everybody with you. It’s fatal to believe that,” Anthony Cleaver, a former chief executive and chairman of IBM, told the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee during a pre-appointment hearing conducted by on 21 October.

The committee’s chairman Andrew Miller asked whether Cleaver thought he could cope with the level of tension experienced by NERC during the botched attempt to merge the British Antarctic Survey with the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton in 2012. Cleaver replied that such a situation was “very difficult”.

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