European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi, right speaks with Bank of England Governor Mark Carney as they attends the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) conference, at the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington, Saturday, April 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

UK begins search for new Bank of England governor

April 24, 2019 - 6:52 am

LONDON (AP) — The British government on Wednesday kick-started the process to appoint the successor to Mark Carney as governor of the Bank of England, and indicated it was not limiting its search to British candidates.

Carney, a Canadian who in July 2013 became the first foreigner to head the Bank of England, has said he is standing down from his role at the end of January 2020.

Carney has already extended his departure on two occasions in order to deal with the aftermath of the country's vote in June 2016 to leave the European Union.

The Treasury said it is using a specialist executive search agency and said Carney's replacement should be announced in the autumn.

Treasury chief Philip Hammond told a committee of lawmakers that his preference is that Carney's replacement will serve an eight-year term as has been the case traditionally.

"Stability has a lot of value," he said.

Hammond said he was looking for a candidate of the "highest caliber," who knows his or her way around international organizations, which will be important when Britain leaves the EU.

"It's very important that as well as having someone who can do a first-class job at home we have someone who commands respect in the international arena," he added.

That comment suggests that the search will not just be confined to the U.K. and that Carney's successor could come from abroad.

A number of potential domestic replacements have been mooted including Andrew Bailey, who heads the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority, and the Bank of England's chief economist Andrew Haldane.

No woman has ever been governor of the Bank of England, which was founded in 1694, but there's no shortage of potential candidates, including Minouche Shafik, a former rate-setter at the bank and currently a director at the London School of Economics, and Shriti Vadera, the chair of Santander's U.K. bank arm.

Further afield, other names being mooted include Raghuram Rajan, a former Bank of India governor. Even former Fed Chair Janet Yellen has been identified as a potential successor.

Hammond praised Carney for his time at the helm, a volatile period that saw Britain vote to leave the EU in June 2016.

Britain was due to leave the EU in March but the failure of Parliament to agree on a Brexit withdrawal deal means it has been delayed on two occasions. At a summit earlier this month, EU leaders extended Britain's departure date to Oct. 31 though Brexit could happen sooner if Prime Minister Theresa May gets her deal across the line. The departure date could be extended again.

Whatever happens with Brexit, Hammond said Carney's "steady hand has helped steer the U.K. economy through a challenging period and we are now seeing stable, low inflation and the fastest wage growth in over a decade."

Though Carney won plaudits for his handling of the shock of Britain's vote to leave the EU, he has faced criticism from many Brexit backers for taking sides during the Brexit referendum campaign.

He was accused by some of being a leading proponent of so-called "Project Fear" when warning of the economic consequences of a vote to leave. The bank recently also forecast that the British economy could shrink by 8 percent in a matter of months if it crashes out of the EU without a deal.

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