First non-British to lead Bank of England in 300 years

The British government has chosen Mark Carney, the head of Canada’s central bank, to become governor of the Bank of England effective July 1.

Updated: Nov 27, 2012, 12:55 PM IST

Zeebiz Bureau

London: The British government has chosen Canadian central bank chief Mark Carney to head the Bank of England, springing the surprise choice of a foreigner to push reform of its troubled financial system.

A former Goldman Sachs investment banker who at the Bank of Canada guided the Canadian economy through the global economic crisis, Carney will succeed Mervyn King who retires in July.

Treasury chief George Osborne announced the surprise choice to the House of Commons on Monday.

“Mark Carney is the outstanding candidate to be governor of the Bank of England and help steer Britain through these difficult economic times,” Osborne said.

“He is quite simply the best, most experienced and most qualified person in the world to do the job.”

It is the first time someone who isn’t British has been selected to lead the UK’s monetary authority, though Osborne said Carney would apply for British citizenship.

The Canadian had been speculated as a possible choice but was not considered a front-runner.

“I’m honored to accept this important and demanding role,” Carney said.

“It’s a decisive period for reform of the global financial system including its leading financial center, the City of London. And it’s a crucial point in the Bank of England’s history as it accepts vial new responsibilities.”

Carney will succeed the current governor, Mervyn King, when his term ends next year. As well as chairing the committee which sets the UK’s main interest rate, the governor will be given the new responsibility of supervising the country’s banking industry. Carney told Osborne that he will only serve five years of the usual eight-year term.

Carney,47, was appointed to a seven-year term as government of the Bank of Canada in February 2008.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University in 1988, and master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from Oxford University.

Carney was employed by Goldman Sachs for 13 years, working in London, Tokyo, New York and Toronto, before being appointed deputy governor of the Bank of Canada in 2003.

He is not the first ex-Goldman Sachs employee to lead a central bank, President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi is also a former employee of the US investment bank.

With Agency Inputs