THE London School of Economics has agreed a shortlist of five for the post of director and hopes to reach a decision within a month.
Possible candidates are Baroness Blackstone, master of Birkbeck College, and Nick Stern, an LSE economist on secondment to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Neither Lady Blackstone or Professor Stern has commented.
Adrian Hall, LSE senior assistant secretary, refused to confirm or deny any names but confirmed that two of the five are currently associated with the University of London while the others are not.
Leslie Hannah has been acting director since August when John Ashworth's contract expired. Late last year the job was offered to the comptroller and auditor general Sir John Bourn, who turned it down. Baroness Blackstone and Professor Stern were on the same shortlist as Sir John.
A new selection process began in June and initially produced 300 names. The eight-strong selection committee, chaired by Sir Peter Parker, chairman of the school's court of governors, has whittled this down to five.
Mr Hall said that final interviews were in progress but that the selection committee's final choice would have to be confirmed by the court of governors.
The next scheduled court meeting is on December 12 but a special court could be called at two weeks' notice.