My attachment to CREES was somewhat unusual: I was formally at Aston University (1978-81), but it quickly became clear that the expertise I needed for my research on Soviet and East European foreign trade was at CREES, and Phil Hanson very kindly agreed to supervise my PhD, on foreign trade in centrally planned economies; that made all the difference. I have fond and grateful memories of CREES as a centre of excellence and (in the best sense) eccentrics.

I went on to write about Eastern Europe for The Economist, and have been there for nearly 30 years in various roles, from Europe Editor and Britain Editor to Washington Bureau Chief, Editorial Director of the Economist Intelligence Unit and Editor-in-Chief of The Economist online. I am currently Executive Editor and Business Affairs Editor of The Economist. I also edit The Economist's annual on the year ahead, "The World in..."