Mike Schüssler, who died this week aged 60 after a short battle with throat cancer, made his career as an independent and lateral thinker.
He would trawl the data in Stats SA’s annexures, transforming numbers into useful information that anyone might understand.
While in his early years he worked at Transnet, the Treasury, and SAA, in 2000 he went into consultancy, before founding economists.co.za in 2005.
Schüssler loved a debate, and his friend and fellow economist Dawie Roodt describes him as a formidable opponent with an astounding memory for data that others had long forgotten.
As it happens, Mike wasn’t his real name at all. He was born Hans Ullrich Schüssler, to German parents in Egypt, but earned the nickname at university because of his resemblance to burly boxer Mike Schutte.
He had the rarest ability to decode economic jargon, scything through the noise to find the stories that really mattered He was rightly known as the “people’s economist” — and will be deeply missed.
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