Wilkins Becomes First Female Bank of Canada Senior Deputy

The Bank of Canada named Carolyn Wilkins senior deputy governor, the first woman to hold the No. 2 position at the central bank.

The appointment is effective May 2, the day after senior deputy Tiff Macklem leaves to become head of the University of Toronto’s business school, the Ottawa-based bank said in a statement on its website today. Wilkins was most recently an adviser to Governor Stephen Poloz.

“Carolyn brings to this role a rich and varied background in monetary policy research, economic forecasting, financial markets and regulatory analysis, and truly exceptional leadership skills,” Poloz said in the statement.

After the interest rate decision on April 16, Wilkins will join discussions by policy makers who have said they may raise or lower a 1 percent policy interest rate depending on how economic data progresses. The rate has been unchanged since September 2010 in the longest pause since the 1950s as inflation has lagged ba 2 percent target and there are risks from a record buildup of consumer debt.

Wilkins, 50, joined the bank in 2001 and has been an adviser to Poloz since August. Before that, she served as chief of the financial stability department. The native of Peterborough, Ontario, has a master’s degree in economics from Western University in London, Ontario. She isn’t available for an interview today, said bank spokesman Alexandre Deslongchamps.

Wilkins has also represented Canada at international financial meetings, chairing the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s working group on liquidity. She has lead a G-20 working group that helped implement changes to markets in over-the-counter derivatives.

“She’s got a really complete package,” Poloz told reporters in Washington, where he was attending Group of 20 officials. “A jack-of-all trades.”

Clear Path

The senior deputy’s role has shifted, losing its status as a clear path to the governor’s chair and becoming more focused on policy, with the bank hiving off the duties of chief operating officer to a separate position. The six-member Governing Council has a second spot to fill with Deputy John Murray retiring at the end of April. The group works by consensus and doesn’t publish meeting minutes or vote tallies, meaning there’s no direct evidence of different members’ influence on policy decisions.

“This has been an extremely thorough process as we sought the best candidate to fill this critical role,” Finance Minister Joe Oliver said in a separate statement. “I would also like to thank the outgoing Senior Deputy Governor, Tiff Macklem, for his many outstanding contributions to monetary policy, financial stability and to contributing to making the Bank of Canada a preeminent central bank.”

Other Candidates

Other potential candidates for the job included deputies Agathe Cote; Timothy Lane; and Larry Schembri, who joined the rate panel in February 2013. Jean Boivin, a former deputy governor and now a top aide at Canada’s finance department, didn’t seek to return to the central bank as senior deputy governor, a person familiar with the matter said in March.

Macklem announced his departure on Dec. 5, and he had earlier said he was interested in replacing Mark Carney as governor, before losing to Poloz. He was the third straight senior deputy that wasn’t promoted to the top job, breaking an earlier tradition of internal promotions.

The departure of Carney for the Bank of England last year and of Macklem marks the first time the Bank of Canada has replaced its two top officials within 12 months since its founding in 1934. Macklem will take some time off before starting July 1 as dean at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management for a five-year term.

The senior deputy governor is appointed by the central bank’s board of outside directors, with the approval of the federal cabinet, for a renewable term of seven years. The job had a salary range of C$302,300 to C$355,600 in 2012.

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