Among the oldest rules of top jobs in academic - or, for that matter, any other - life is that it is very important to choose one's predecessor carefully. Follow somebody who was universally acknowledged to be brilliant at the job, or simply very popular, and you're on an uphill slope from the start.
If, on the other hand, your predecessor was not entirely loved and revered... We leave it up to readers to guess into which category the new director of the research councils, John Taylor, will fall when he succeeds Sir John Cadogan.
Suffice it to say that when Dr Taylor was asked how his modus operandi would differ from Sir John's, he responded, a la Francis Urquhart, that he couldn't possibly comment.
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