OTTAWA — Mark Carney is taking his skills to London to steer the Bank of England back to respectability.
After nearly five years successfully overseeing monetary policy as governor of the Bank of Canada, Carney, 47, has accepted the prestigious appointment as head of one of the most powerful organizations in England.
Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said Carney “is quite simply the best, most experienced and most qualified person in the world to do the job. He has done a brilliant job for the Canadian economy.”
His term starts in July and comes with a total pay package of about $994,000 annually. The term is normally eight years, but Carney only sought five.
“I see this as a challenge,” he said Monday at a news conference where Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced Carney would become the first foreign national to oversee the 318-year-old Bank of England.
Carney’s name had surfaced as a possible successor to Mervyn King, though he said in interviews he wasn’t a candidate.
“These discussions really only intensified in the last two weeks,” Carney said, adding he never formally applied for the job.
He said he made up his mind after reflecting on where Canada stands economically on the world stage and the mounting challenges England faces.
London will provide Carney with an ideal spot to continue as chairman of the Switzerland-based Financial Stability Board of G20 countries.
He joins the bank at a time it’s been given sweeping responsibilities to set interest rates, regulate banks and other financial institutions and oversee a new body to identify economic threats facing England and head them off.
“This is a critical time for the British, European and global economies,” Carney said.
“It’s a decisive period for reform of the global financial system, including its leading financial centre, the City of London.”
Carney is married to a British woman, studied at Oxford University and worked for Goldman Sachs in London. He intends to seek citizenship.
His announcement came as a surprise to many and finally ends speculation he’d run in the Liberal leadership race.
“It’s bittersweet,” Flaherty said after highlighting Carney’s role in helping shield Canada from global economic turbulence.
“It is our loss...He has been a superb Bank of Canada governor.”
Tiff Macklem, Carney’s deputy, is considered a front-runner to succeed him.