Bowles Vies for King’s Job to Break Bank of England From Past

Bowles Vies for King’s Job to Break Bank of England From Past
Sharon Bowles, chair of the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg

European lawmaker Sharon Bowles said that diplomacy and knowledge of banking regulation are strengths she can offer to support her candidacy to become the first female governor in the Bank of England’s 318-year history.

Bowles, 59, said in an interview in Brussels today that she put in her application to replace Mervyn King on Oct. 7, the day before Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s deadline. Bowles is chairwoman of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and a member of the Liberal Democrats, Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition partners.

“I’ve probably got more knowledge of European financial regulation than anybody else,” she said. “Vision, diplomacy and negotiation -- those are my strengths.”

Bowles spoke after chairing questions today with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi at a session of her committee, which has protested the lack of female policy makers at the ECB and delayed the appointment of Luxembourg’s Yves Mersch to the Executive Board. She ended the hearing with a reminder that institutions such as the ECB face a number of issues, “including gender balance.”

Bowles said her candidacy showed that she was “practicing what I preach” and that “women have got to be prepared to put themselves forward.”

She also said that her candidacy for the U.K. central bank would represent both a change from precedent and send a signal on Britain’s relationship with the European Union.

‘Strong Signal’

“I’d be quite a break from the past,” she said. “I’d be a strong signal that London is outward-facing, because one of the big issues going forward is going to be what is the relationship of the U.K. with the rest of Europe and the banking union.”

Bookmaker William Hill Plc gave Bowles odds of 16-1 for the job, meaning a successful 1-pound ($1.60) bet would yield a 16-pound profit. The favorite for the position is Bank of England Deputy Governor Paul Tucker at 4-5, followed by Financial Services Authority Chairman Adair Turner and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney at 3-1, and John Vickers, chairman of the Independent Commission on Banking, at 9-1.

The deadline for candidates was yesterday at 8:30 a.m. in London. Goldman Sachs Asset Management Chairman Jim O’Neill, former U.K. civil service chief Gus O’Donnell and former Bank of England policy maker DeAnne Julius have all said they didn’t submit applications.

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