Mark Carney, Canada's chief banker, named head of Bank of England
Surprise pick points to internationalisation of the role.
The new governor of the Bank of England is Mark Carney, currently the governor of the Bank of Canada.
For the first time, the post was actually advertised, and George Osborne himself actually took part in the interviews for the position. This may be the reason for the surprise announcement: Paul Tucker, a current deputy governor of the Bank, was widely expected to be the chancellor's pick. The odds on betting sites reflected that: Betfair was offering odds of just 1/17 that Tucker would win, and 8/5 that Carney would.
The news hasn't come completely out of the blue. In April we learned that Carney had been approached "informally", but even then I wrote that:
The favourite to take over from King remains one of his two deputies at the Bank, Paul Tucker, but the widely held opinion that it mishandled the financial crisis means that there is growing pressure to bring in an outsider for the first time in thirty years. It is faintly ironic that the Bank, which oversees a sector in which mobility of top talent is treated as an unquestionable truth, itself recruits from such a narrow pool of candidates, but that is one of the constraints which it is subject to in its dual role as state entity and financial actor.
As the Financial Times, which broke the fact that Carney was being considered in the spring, accurately predicted, Osborne made a special point of highlighting Carney's links to Britain. He studied at Oxford, has a British wife and, most importantly of all, judging by the cheers from the government benches, is a subject of the Queen. We were also told that Carney will be applying for British citizenship.
Still, although the Chancellor made a point to highlight the "open and transparent" nature of the appointment process, the wonders of the internet reveal a slightly different story. In August, Carney publicly "ruled himself out" of the race:
Mr Carney sought to put an end to speculation that he would be the ideal successor to Sir Mervyn King, saying “I’m interested in who they pick but very focused on my post at the Bank of Canada.” When asked whether it was a “no or never” situation, he replied: “both”.
The New Statesman's economics editor, David Blanchflower, welcomed the news:
A class appointment, just what we needed: an outsider who knows what he is doing, and who I expect to come in and sweep the Bank of England clean. He has experience on regulation and monetary policy, and will make a fine governor.