Dan Rosenfield, the new chief of staff in Number 10, is about as far removed from Dominic Cummings as it is possible to be. So experienced and sensible is Rosenfield that some baffled Downing Street watchers on hearing the news may wonder whether some sort of terrible mistake of communication has been made and Boris got the wrong Dan.
But no, the appointment is an indication that Johnson and cabinet secretary Simon Case want to move on from the counterproductive chaos of the Cummings and Lee Cain era.
Hiring Rosenfield, who starts next week, is an attempt to bring order to the Number 10 operation after a bizarre period when Johnson entrusted his future to someone who actively dislikes the Prime Minister’s party and the fate of the country to a dynamic duo playing politics with about as much subtlety as a kamikaze pilot flying straight at a US carrier.
Rosenfield is a former civil servant, once a Treasury high-flyer and a veteran of the financial crisis. During the 2008 crisis he was private secretary to Chancellor Alistair Darling. He was with him on 7 October 2008, flying from Northolt to the ECOFIN meeting in Luxembourg, the day that RBS ran out of money. He was there when special advisor Geoffrey Spence got Darling out of the meeting to let him know shares in RBS had been suspended twice and they had crashed as much as 35%.
It was Rosenfield who put on his credit card the famous curry during bailout talks with the banks. The Treasury expenses department queried why he had spent £350 on curry.
During the transition from Labour to the Coalition, Rosenfield was there to smooth the switch from Darling to George Osborne. Both Darling and Osborne’s teams rated him highly as someone politically savvy and good to work with. Could this now catch on?
Rosenfield left government for a post at Bank of America and then became a partner and global head of corporate clients at strategic advisory firm Hakluyt. There will some opposition focus on the nature of that latter job, and the identity of clients no doubt.
But this novel – in the context of the last 18 months – appointment does suggest a move back to a more traditional approach in Number 10.
Oh, and Rosenfield is the son in-law of Alex Brummer, City Editor of The Daily Mail.