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Frenkel to Replace Fischer in Return to Bank of Israel

JPMorgan Chase International Chairman Jacob Frenkel
JPMorgan Chase International Chairman Jacob Frenkel served as governor of the Bank of Israel from 1991 to 2000. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Jacob Frenkel, chairman of JPMorgan Chase International, will return to a position he left 13 years ago when he succeeds Stanley Fischer as governor of the Bank of Israel.

Frenkel, 70, whose appointment by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid was announced in a statement today, will take over at a time when the central bank is contending with slowing growth and surging housing prices. His appointment must be ratified by the Cabinet.

“In Netanyahu’s mind, he thinks the fact that someone who is internationally well known is a prerequisite, someone who can represent Israel internationally,” Jonathan Katz, an economist at HSBC Holdings in Tel Aviv, said in a telephone interview.

Fischer said he would step down June 30. Frenkel served as governor of the Bank of Israel from 1991 to 2000, when inflation was close to 20 percent.

Speaking in a January interview, Frenkel said during his time as governor before Fischer, his main challenge was to reduce inflation.

“We had significant engines of economic growth triggered by a very large influx of immigrants, primarily from the Soviet Union, an extraordinary boom of the high-technology revolution and encouraging developments in the geopolitical sphere,” Frenkel said in January. “Now, amid very slow growth, depending on what part of the world one looks at, the main challenge is to secure economic growth.”

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