Wanted: new boss for Canada's central bank

The Bank of Canada published a job ad for a new governor on Monday, calling for any Canadian citizens with the "courage to take a stand" to put their names in the hat to help steer the country's monetary policy.

In a job posting on the central bank's website, the bank said it was seeking an "exceptionally well-qualified candidate with unquestioned technical competence in monetary policy" to take over the position of governor.

That's the role currently filled by Mark Carney. But in November, the well-regarded Carney announced he would be leaving his post to head up the Bank of England starting in June.

Although there had been speculation as to his future, the timing of Carney's announcement caught journalists and other policymakers by surprise.

In the ad, the bank says the successful candidate must be a Canadian citizen who can communicate the bank's vision in both official languages. "Few positions influence more directly the performance of the Canadian economy than that of the Governor of the Bank of Canada," the ad reads.

The governor is responsible for guiding the bank's policy on interest rates, and also must "have the demonstrated ability to exercise sound judgment in a highly complex environment, to manage competing priorities, and to rank strategic priorities."

"You would also ensure that the bank attracts, and retains, the calibre of individuals needed to sustain its reputation for excellence," the ad reads.

Carney was almost universally lauded for his handling of the financial crisis. He's credited with threading the needle enough on rates to stimulate the economy out of recession while simultaneously warning consumers about not taking on too much debt.

"He got a lot of credit, and fair enough, but really it was a team effort," said Ian Nakamoto, research director of investment firm MacDougall, MacDougall, & MacTier in Toronto.

Nakamoto says the job posting is nothing surprising, and likely legally mandated as a requirement to make sure there's an open and transparent process for filling the position.

It's believed Tiff Macklem, currently a deputy governor at the bank, is one of the frontrunners to fill the role. Macklem is perceived to be in the Carney mold, with the right policy intuition to steer the country's monetary policy. Economist Patricia Croft points out, however, that both of the previous two governors — Carney and before him, David Dodge — did not come from inside the bank but rather jumped over from the Ministry of Finance.

So there's certainly no guarantee that the bank is looking internally.

"It's probably more of a formality, and they have someone in mind," Croft said. "The ad could be just to make sure it's all above board."

Nakamoto notes that morale at the bank has to be a factor in the hiring. "You'd have to think it would be demoralizing for some people there for the bank to once again look outside for its top talent," Nakamoto said.

"One never knows who's out there," Nakamoto said. "There's a lot of qualified individuals on Bay Street, in academia and at the bank itself, but they might have to find someone willing to take a pay cut," he said.

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