Canada Said to Include External Candidates in Bank Head Search

Stephen Harper’s government will examine a broad pool of candidates to replace Mark Carney as Bank of Canada Governor, and won’t let a tight timeframe deter it from looking beyond internal candidates such as Senior Deputy Governor Tiff Macklem, according to a person with knowledge of the process.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty issued a statement today saying he will be directly involved in the process to replace Carney before his June 1 departure. A second person with knowledge of the process said the comments were meant to emphasize the government’s role in selecting a new Bank of Canada chief. Both people declined to be identified because the process is private.

The government should be “looking for a personality type and a set of intellectual skills that are not necessarily identified with a particular career path,” said Brian Lee Crowley, who runs the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, an Ottawa-based independent research organization, and who helped lead a private policy forum attended by Flaherty. “We are no longer thinking who’s followed the right steps along their career within an institution.”

The 12 outside directors on the bank’s board started the official job search earlier this month, placing an advertisement in newspapers. The directors “will then recommend a roster of qualified candidates to the Minister for him to interview,” Flaherty said in the statement. While Macklem, 51, has been the unanimous choice of economists and analysts asked about the appointment, the previous two selections passed over the senior deputies who had been seen as favorites.

‘Past Precedents’

“You can’t rule out the two past precedents that have been set to bypass the second-in-charge,” said Derek Holt, vice-president of economics at Bank of Nova Scotia in Toronto. “If they truly wished continuity, Tiff Macklem is the odds-on favorite.”

Whoever takes over when Carney leaves June 1 to lead the Bank of England must guide the world’s 11th largest economy through a sluggish expansion threatened by weak exports and record consumer debts. Carney and Macklem have kept the bank’s policy interest rate at 1 percent since September 2010, the longest pause since the 1950s, and have said since April that borrowing costs may rise.

The job has a seven-year renewable term and the salary range for last year was C$431,800 ($438,000) to C$507,900. The advertisement called for “unquestioned technical competence” in monetary policy, and the last three governors have had a doctorate in economics. It also says the position requires “a highly developed understanding of the financial sector, both institutions and markets,” as well as “exceptional communications skills” and ability in both English and French.

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