Who is Gabriel Makhlouf, Central Bank governor in waiting?
Top official in New Zealand’s treasury department embroiled in controversy
Gabriel Makhlouf: New Zealand’s public service watchdog has now said Makhlouf “acted unreasonably”
Gabriel Makhlouf, the top official in New Zealand’s treasury department, was selected to become the 12th governor of the Central Bank of Ireland earlier this year with news of his appointment emerging on May 1st. He will be the first overseas official to fill the post in the organisation’s 76-year history
Makhlouf, a former top UK civil servant and one-time principal private secretary to then chancellor of the exchequer Gordon Brown, joined the New Zealand Treasury in 2010 and was appointed chief executive and secretary in 2011. This appointment made him the Wellington government’s chief economic and financial adviser.
Born in Cairo in 1960 to a Cypriot-British father and Greek-Armenian mother, Makhlouf spent his earliest years travelling as his father pursued a career as a United Nations official. The holder of an honours degree in economics from the University of Exeter and a master’s in industrial relations from the University of Bath, he began his career in 1984 as a tax inspector.
When he takes up his Central Bank role, Makhlouf will also become a member of the European Central Bank’s governing council.
In late May, following the announcement of his appointment, Makhlouf became embroiled in a controversy in New Zealand over leaked budget details. He claimed his department had evidence it was the subject of a deliberate and systematic hack. The department suffered 2,000 attacks on its system within 48 hours, he said. The police, who were called in to investigate, quickly established there was no evidence of illegal activity, and indicated that the department’s web search tool was used to access the embargoed information.
New Zealand’s public service watchdog has now said Makhlouf “acted unreasonably”