Tue, Oct 09, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Australia’s Stevens not asked to head BOE: source

Reuters, SYDNEY and LONDON

Australia’s top central banker, Glenn Stevens, has not been approached by British Treasury officials about applying for the Bank of England’s (BOE) governor role, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said yesterday.

London’s Sunday Times newspaper reported Stevens was among the contenders to become the next head of the Bank of England, citing unidentified sources.

“Nobody had approached” Stevens about the role, said the source, who declined to be identified because the matter was private.

Britain is seeking “a person of undisputed integrity and standing” to take over after governor Mervyn King steps down next year, according to the Bank of England’s job advertisement.

Stevens, 54, has been governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) since September 2006 and is the country’s highest paid public servant, with an annual salary of over A$1 million (US$1 million), more than double King’s earnings.

The Reserve Bank of Australia and Britain’s Treasury declined to comment.

An economist who styles himself the “most boring man in Sydney,” Stevens is regarded as a pragmatist, shifting last year from warning of higher interest rates to cutting them twice in succession within months.

Under his leadership, the RBA was one of the first central banks to start slashing rates during the global financial crisis in 2008, even though domestic inflation was running above 4 percent. His term ends in September next year.

The UK Treasury has declined to confirm the names of applicants for the post, which currently carries an annual salary of £308,000 (US$499,000).

Favorites with bookmakers include Bank of England Deputy Governor Paul Tucker and Financial Services Authority Chairman Adair Turner. Contender Gus O’Donnell, the former top British civil servant, has decided not to apply, according to the Financial Times.

Senior figures from the commercial banking industry include Jim O’Neill, the chairman of Goldman Sachs’s asset management division.

Candidates have until 07.30 GMT on Monday to submit their applications, with a decision due by the end of the year.

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