Wanted: Bank of Canada boss

Reality has set in: the job posting for Canada's next Bank of Canada boss is officially circulating in a bid to replace Mark Carney, you know, international financial market super star.

The ad by search and recruitment firm Odgers Berndtsons was posted on the bank's website and in The Economist, La Presse and Globe and Mail earlier this week. Carney is taking over the Bank of England as of July 1, leaving big shoes to fill this side of the Atlantic.

Language is such a crucial factor in understanding Bank of Canada communications. Just ask any economist. The following is a short list of key takeaways from the tightly-written, 362-word advertisement:

"Few positions influence more directly the performance of the Canadian economy than that of the Governor of the Bank of Canada."

That's a pretty heavy burden to bear. It also suggests an extremely regimented schedule, with little time to fit in working out. Carney was widely known for being an avid runner. Recall he famously hauled a Globe and Mail reporter out to Ottawa's Rockcliffe Park at 6 o'clock in the morning to conduct an interview -- while jogging. Prospective candidate should not expect a lot of down time in this role, but rather should be good at multi-tasking when it comes to physical fitness and work. Think bench presses while speech writing.

" ... while contributing to the development of stronger, more robust domestic and international financial systems, the Bank of Canada plays a significant role that has an impact on the everyday lives of all Canadians ... "

Household debt. Household debt. Household debt. It seems for the past year Carney has used virtually every public engagement he's attended to remind Canadians to stop spending more than they can afford. The most recent data shows the Canadian debt-to-income ratio at a record high of 164.6 per cent. Linked to that is the attempt by Ottawa to cool the housing market by tightening mortgage rules. Prospective candidate should feel comfortable with nagging the general public, as well as using words like "risk" and "vigilance" in the process.

" ... 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 ..."

Carney is perceived as a rock star who will forever be known in the annals of the financial services industry as being called smart and sexy by Time Magazine. "Central bankers aren't often known for their charm, good looks or ease with words, but Mark Carney has all three," the magazine wrote. He has not shied away from controversy. Recall when he ruffled feathers when he accused Canadian companies of sitting on piles of “dead money” that should be invested or given back to shareholders. Then there's the spat with JP Morgan Chase & Co titan, Jamie Dimon, over bank capital requirements. Prospective candidate should not stress over winning every popularity contest.

" ... You have the proven ability to provide leadership for a complex, knowledge-intensive organization, exceptional communication skills, and the ability to communicate ... The credibility of the Governor is key to establishing the confidence of the financial community, the business media and ultimately the general public ... "

The central bank governor holds the power to send markets into a tizzy by uttering a single word or slightly tweaking a sentence or two in a speech. The world has witnessed the Canadian dollar, treasuries and overnight index swaps gyrate on his commentary. At press conferences, Carney has decided when to offer up that nugget of new information journalists will glom onto. But part of communicating is looking the part, what with all the media attention and spotlight. So no untidy hair, cheap suits or bad color combos. Cameras are always rolling. Prospective candidate must have experience with "blue steel" and other milder variations, and above all, be willing to work with the communications team to guard against unfortunate photo ops and picture placements. Think Stephen Harper cowboy outfit.

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