In a surprising departure from convention, the British government on Monday selected Mark J Carney, the head of the Canadian central bank, to succeed Mervyn A King as the next governor of the Bank of England.
The appointment ended months of jockeying by some of Britain’s most prominent public officials. As a result of changes to take effect next year, the job will come with sharply enhanced powers.
The odds had been seen as heavily favouring the Bank of England’s deputy governor, Paul Tucker. The decision to select a foreigner to lead Britain’s most storied financial institution and the equivalent of the Federal Reserve in the US, came as a shock when George Osborne, the chancellor of the Exchequer, broke the news in Parliament.
The appointment was arguably the most significant in the bank’s 318-year history. Carney will not only be the first foreigner to lead the bank, but will also take responsibility for the health of the British financial system.
Besides doing the traditional job of setting interest rates, the central bank will directly regulate and oversee the country’s banks and other financial institutions. Until now, such regulation and oversight has been primarily the job of the Financial Services Authority, which will be scrapped. “I see this as a challenge and I’m going to where the challenge is the greatest,” Carney said. NYT