Only four months to go before we know who gets the top job. No, not the Tories - even they can't drag it out that long. This is the successor to Sir Howard Newby as chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. No decision is expected until February. After Sir David Watson and David Eastwood made the early running in the speculation stakes, Ivor Crewe, former president of Universities UK and Essex University vice-chancellor, is emerging as the frontrunner.