New blood required. Bank of England looks outside for new leader

Do we want the beige cardigan or the urbane hi-tech leader? Britain’s government throws down the gauntlet

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As the search for a replacement for outgoing Mark Carney as Governor of the Bank of England begins in earnest, a different approach has been taken by the British government than had been initially considered.

Ten days ago, the City had considered the possibility of the leadership position within the central issuer of the world’s strongest reserve currency being filled by an industry-known senior figure, however as the search begins, an advertisement has been placed, asking candidates to submit a resume and covering letter.

The search for current Bank boss Mark Carney’s replacement was launched yesterday by Chancellor Philip Hammond, although unfortunately a CV and covering letter were invited, leading to speculation that the need for a ‘thick skin’ and to be very comfortable in the public spotlight are two major reasons for looking outside the central banking and Tier 1 financial services sector largely due to many potential suitors being jaded by political wranglings and bank profit downturns.

Last week, FinanceFeeds reported that Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond had admitted that the search had become more difficult because some candidates are being put off by the idea of being dragged into the Brexit turmoil.

Chancellor Hammond said the selection process to find a successor for the Canadian as governor of the Bank of England is ‘getting under way’, but that some were wary of putting their hat in the ring because they did not want to be thrown into the middle of toxic political rows.

‘Obviously I would have preferred to have the Brexit issue resolved before we started the process,’ Chancellor Hammond said.

Just ten days ago, Mr Hammond ruled out the possibility that Mark Carney would stay on for longer to see the economy through a stormy Brexit process, and current favourites to assume the position include Andrew Bailey, chief executive of City regulator the Financial Conduct Authority, though his chances may have been harmed by recent scandals.

Insiders at the Bank with a chance of the top job before it was released to outside applicants included deputy governor Sir Jon Cunliffe and chief economist Andy Haldane. Others in the running are Raghuram Rajan, the former governor of the Indian Central Bank, and Shriti Vadera, chairman of Santander UK, who if chosen would be the first female governor.

Today, however, it looks increasingly unlikely that any familiar names will be considered, as Chancellor Hammond has put the position out to external applicants.

This may well be a good thing, as while it is very clear that the ultra-conservative Bank of England needs to retain its cut-from-granite status in the global financial world and continue its centuries-long stature of complete stability, beige-cardigan leadership may not be the right way forward.

In today’s highly technological United Kingdom whose populace, diversified economy, and world leading financial and tertiary services sector are right at the cutting edge of global society, maybe an equally avantgarde, technologically astute leader more along the lines of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs is appropriate rather than a former civil servant with a cottage in Midhurst, a Labrador and a caravan.

Mark Carney took charge at the Bank of England in 2013, as Britain was still struggling to recover from the financial crisis and has worked on both shoring up and protecting the global financial system and bolstering confidence in Britain’s finances. Thus, he was the right man for the job during recovering times, however in flourishing, IOT-driven, technological powerhouse Britain, a nation where every industry sector is booming and overseas firms are sucrrying to invest in British business or to have a British base for their operations, a visionary leader of future global business is perhaps required.

The salary for leadership of the Bank of England is advertised at £480,000 which although ten times higher than the average UK managerial salary, is paltry compared to some of the top positions at Tier 1 banks in technology or trading divisions, so this would have to be a position for a leader who believes in taking Britain’s main institution to its next level.

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