Philip joined our team at the Economist Intelligence Unit in London in 1996, roughly two years before I moved to the OECD. We worked together on a range of issues, and socialised too. He was an ardent Leeds United fan, cricket player, and above all, friend and gentleman. Philip grew up around Paris--he attended the bilingual school in St Germain-en-Laye--was a regular visitor to the city, and followed OECD work with interest. His Franco-British blend, plus personal intimacy with Germany, Spain and more, gave him a healthy, clear-sighted perspective not just on Europe, but on economics generally. And also on people, for Philip was a shrewd judge of human nature and character, generous and critical, and always honest.
Philip was a thoroughly pleasant and fair-minded individual, a great listener, and as Simon Tilford points out in the full obituary extracted above, he wrote beautifully too. Indeed, long-time EIU correspondent, Brian McGarry, now a university lecturer in Barcelona, Spain, who worked with, but never met, Philip, emailed me on hearing the sad news to say that he always felt Philip was the best writer of all the editors he had.
Last summer, when Philip was ill though still in excellent form, he and his wife Jane invited his old friends and colleagues to share a glass and some cheese in a garden in leafy Hampstead, London. Well over 100 people crowded into the sunny garden, all in good spirits; it was a courageous gesture by Jane and Philip--a Jacques Brel moment, and as Brel would sing, a loving, jolly and unforgettable farewell among friends.
Philip Whyte left this world far too young, and had so much left to give. We will miss his visits, his smile, his good nature and his friendship.
Adieu Philip et bon chemin.
10 April 2015