Norway Names Nicolaisen as Next Central Bank Deputy Governor

Norges Bank Executive Director Jon Nicolaisen was named central bank deputy governor, according to a statement from the government.

Nicolaisen, 54, was appointed to a six-year term, replacing Jan F. Qvigstad who will step down when his term expires this month, the government said on its website.

Nicolaisen, who with the governor will lead a seven-person board, will be charged with warding off a slowdown as Norway’s housing market cools after prices almost doubled over the past five years. Exporters in western Europe’s largest oil producer are struggling to stay competitive as petroleum wealth filters into the $500 billion economy, pushing up wages.

Nicolaisen, who will take the new position from April 1, has worked at the bank since 1995, while taking three years off from 2003 to 2006. He also held positions at the Finance Ministry, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

“He’s hawkish when he needs to be hawkish and he’s soft and dovish when he needs to be,” said Harald Magnus Andreassen, chief economist at Swedbank AB, by phone from Oslo. “I’m quite confident that he will contribute to monetary policy with a balanced point of view.”

Scandinavia’s richest economy has a long history of picking insiders for top jobs at the bank. Current Governor Oeystein Olsen was plucked from the statistics agency, while Qvigstad was elevated from within the bank. Both had worked at the Finance Ministry, where Svein Gjedrem, the former central bank governor, is now secretary general.

“Jon Nicolaisen is known as a skilled leader and professional. I am sure he will do a good job as deputy governor,” Finance Minister Siv Jensen said in a statement today.

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