Do you meet the Bank of England top job spec?
LONDON BRIEFING:CITY OF London Kremlinologists have been sent into a frenzy of speculative deconstruction and interpretation following the release of job specifications for the governorship of the Bank of England.
For the first time in the Bank’s 318-year history, the governor’s job is being openly advertised, with adverts due to appear in Friday’s media.
But chancellor George Osborne, who said the search for the right candidate will be conducted “through a fair and open competition”, released the content of the advert yesterday leaving City analysts poring over every word and phrase in the search for clues on Sir Mervyn King’s successor.
“As with Sir Mervyn”, the chancellor told the House of Commons, “we are seeking a governor of intelligence, independence, and integrity.”
The job falls vacant when King, who has served two turbulent terms, retires in June next year. The successful candidate will lead the nation’s central bank through major reforms to the regulatory system, including the controversial widening of its powers to include the leading role in overseeing and safeguarding the stability of the UK financial system.
The new governor will, of course, work closely with the chancellor and HM treasury while at the same time preserving the bank’s independence.
According to the advert, the successful candidate must demonstrate that he or she (with not a single woman on the nine-member rate-setting committee, the successful candidate will almost certainly be a he, however) can inspire “confidence and credibility” both within the bank and throughout financial markets.
They will have experience of working in, or with, a central bank or similar institution or will have worked at the most senior level in a major bank or financial institution.
They will demonstrate strong leadership, management and policy skills and have an advanced understanding of financial markets and good economic knowledge.
They should be a strong communicator and have good interpersonal skills (never exactly Sir Mervyn’s forte) as well as being someone of “undisputed integrity and standing”.
So, what clues can we glean from the wording of the advert? Note the requirement for “an advanced understanding” of financial markets yet only a “good” economic knowledge.
Some analysts see this as a shift from the current regime and perhaps an indication that candidates from an academic or civil service background will be less favourably looked on than those who have practical experience.
Despite the tarnishing of reputations by the recent series of banking sector scandals – Libor-rigging, alleged sanction-busting, etc – it would appear that senior bankers are still being invited to apply for the role.
They may, however, fail to meet one of the job’s other specifications – the requirement to be someone of undisputed integrity and standing.
The pay will be something over £300,000 a year and the successful candidate will serve one eight-year term. Those who make it on to the shortlist will be interviewed by a panel headed by the treasury permanent secretary, Sir Nicholas Macpherson, who will then forward one or more names to the chancellor.
The final appointment will be made by the queen on the recommendations of the chancellor and the prime minister.
Even after the appointment is announced, though, the new governor will be subject to a grilling by MPs on the Treasury Select Committee.
Still fancy your chances? Then get your application in by 8.30am on October 8th and expect to hear by the end of the year.
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THE FASHIONworld was shaken to its Jimmy Choos yesterday as the mighty Burberry, famed for its plaid trench coats, hit the market with a shock profits warning.
The unscheduled trading statement noted a fall-off in sales in the past few weeks, a slowdown sharp enough to ensure that profits for the full year will fall at the low end of expectations.
Shares in Burberry crashed by more than one-fifth, wiping over £1 billion from the FTSE 100 company’s stock market value.
Other luxury goods groups took a battering too, amid fears that the recession-resistant sector was finally feeling the pain after several years of seemingly unstoppable growth.
While the statement was short on detail, it seems that reduced demand in China and the rest of Asia is behind the downturn – and Burberry believes its rivals are suffering too.
“We know we are not alone,” said the group’s finance director.
In an effort to combat the decline, Burberry is bringing forward some of its new season products to tempt shoppers.
It has frozen headcount and clamped down on travel, as well as cutting back on marketing and shelving various IT projects. Welcome to the real world.
Fiona Walsh writes for the Guardian newspaper in London