Bank of Canada begins search for Carneyesque governor



(Photo: Jeff McIntosh/CP)

OTTAWA – The Bank of Canada is looking for an “exceptional” person for its next governor, and by all appearances it wants someone just like Mark Carney.

The central bank placed ads for candidates in three publications — The Economist, the Globe and Mail and La Presse — on Monday listing a wide range of credentials and skills.

Those include a great communicator who is bilingual, a Canadian citizen and someone with “unquestioned technical competence in monetary policy and, more broadly, macro-economics, coupled with a highly developed understanding of the financial sector, both institutions and markets, domestically and internationally.”

“Your leadership style is characterized by a personal inclination to lead through persuasion and you have the courage to take a stand to support principles and policies,” the ad continues.

The qualifications appear tailor-made for Carney, a former Goldman Sachs executive who became a leading advocate internationally for stricter banking regulations.

He is also known for speaking out on contentious economic issues in Canada, including Dutch disease, business investment and development of Canada’s oil resources.

“It did occur to me while reading the ad that it could almost double as a resume for Mr. Carney,” said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist with the Bank of Montreal.

With a salary range of $431,800 to $507,900, plus the usual perks, the Bank of Canada can likely afford to be choosy.

But although it’s been known for about a month that Carney is leaving for the Bank of England on June 1, the list of potential candidates appears to be shrinking rather than growing.

In recent weeks, former TD Bank chief economist Don Drummond, former privy council clerk Kevin Lynch and Julie Dixon, the country’s financial institutions regulator, have all disclaimed interest in the position.

That likely makes senior deputy governor Tiff Macklem, who has international experience as the Finance Department’s G7 point-man, the prohibitive favourite.

The dark horse is Steve Poloz, a respected economist with experience in financial markets and forecasting who is currently president of Export Development Canada.

Porter notes that although Macklem, who appears to have been groomed for the job, is the obvious choice, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty went against form in picking Carney ahead of then senior deputy governor Paul Jenkins in 2007.

Bank of Canada spokesman Jeremy Harrison says the search for a new governor is being conducted by the bank’s independent board of directors, adding that publicizing the opening is part of the process. Ads were also posted in 2007.

Given that Carney’s announcement in December was a surprise, the process of finding a new governor is being “telescoped somewhat,” said Porter, adding that there is plenty of time to find a replacement.

The ad gives no indication how long the search process will take.

The Bank of Canada Act stipulates that in the absence of the governor, the senior deputy governor takes over those responsibilities.