“If I can be candid, and as ungushy as possible, I happen to think Evan has a broader and deeper range of talents than I can offer,” Mair wrote. “He can also balance his chequebook, whereas I struggle to explain exchange rates.”
Mair went on to say he had “very much missed” hearing Davis on the radio – the Dragons’ Den presenter stood down from hosting Radio 4’s Today programme in 2014.
Mair added: “So it’s a win-win-win as he gets to join the fine PM production team and they get someone of Evan’s abilities. The third win is the listeners.”
Former BBC Economics editor Davis presented Radio 4’s Today programme for six years, and has been the lead presenter on Newsnight since 2014 when he took over from long-running host Jeremy Paxman.
Davis was announced as the new PM host after Mair left the BBC to join commercial network LBC.
Speaking about his new appointment, Davis said: “Having survived several years of people saying ‘you’re not as good as Jeremy Paxman’, I now look forward to people saying ‘you’re not as good as Eddie Mair’.”
In his column, Mair said this statement was “typically self-effacing and funny”.
Davis will take up his new role at PM later this autumn, with a rota of journalists continuing to fill the presenter’s seat until then.
Read Mair’s full column in the latest issue of Radio Times, on sale now