The Bank of England is looking for a new boss, but applicants beware: The successful candidate will inherit an economy traumatized by Brexit.
Three years of confusion over how, when and even if Britain will leave the European Union has hurt growth and caused the housing market to weaken, auto production to slump and investment to decline.
The country’s highly volatile political landscape suggests that uncertainty will continue, and the risk of stepping into the worst case scenario — a disorderly Brexit -— could scare away applicants.
The current governor, Mark Carney, has already delayed his exit twice because of Brexit. He’s made clear that there’s zero chance of a third extension beyond the end of January 2020.
So how can the Bank of England attract potential hires? An official job advertisement posted Wednesday says the new governor will be paid £480,000 ($621,000) a year, the same as Carney. The job also comes with benefits, including a pension, that brought Carney’s total compensation to £881,574 ($1.1 million) in the 2017 financial year. It’s one of the richest pay deals in central banking.
But the job’s not for everyone.
The listing says that the candidates must be able to inspire “confidence and credibility within the bank, throughout financial markets, in the wider public arena and on the international stage.”
It requires experience at the most senior level in a major bank or financial institution, or in central banking. Carney, a Harvard-educated economist, was previously governor of the Bank of Canada.
While not spelled out in the posting, the next governor will likely need courage and a thick skin to deal with Brexit.
Carney was forced to cut interest rates in an effort to limit the economic damage after the Brexit vote in 2016, and the central bank has at times been drawn into the political debate over Brexit.
The next ‘guv’
UK media are already speculating about potential candidates.
Andrew Bailey, former deputy governor of the central bank and current head of the UK Financial Conduct Authority, is mentioned often. So are Bank of England deputy governors Ben Broadbent and Jon Cunliffe.
Raghuram Rajan, a professor at the University of Chicago who formerly led the Reserve Bank of India and served as chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is another potential candidate.
Two women appear to be in the mix: Shriti Vadera, the chair of Santander (SAN)’s UK bank, and Minouche Shafik, a former deputy governor of the central bank who now leads the London School of Economics.
While the central bank has never been led by a woman, Vadera and Shafik may face better odds than earlier candidates.
The government has hired headhunters Sapphire Partners to help with the search, a move that could signal it wants to pick the new governor from a diverse pool of candidates.
The executive search company is run by a group of women and has a reputation for diverse appointments. The firm says it specializes in the recruitment and retention of women in senior jobs.
The talent pool may be tight. Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, is also nearing the end of his term, and the European Union will begin the hunt for his successor shortly.
The application deadline for the UK job is at 6:00 p.m. ET on June 5, 2019.