Watt could seek role as Central Bank governor

Philip Lane is due to step down as governor in June to take a role with the European Central Bank

Robert Watt, secretary general at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Robert Watt, secretary general at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

 

Ireland’s top official in the ministry for public expenditure and reform, Robert Watt, is considering a new attempt at becoming the Central Bank governor, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Watt was one of the two final candidates considered to lead the Central Bank of Ireland in 2015, before being edged out by Philip Lane, then an economics professor at Trinity College Dublin. With Lane now set to move to the European Central Bank, Watt now may put himself forward for the position once more, said the people who asked not to be named as the information is private.

A spokesman for the Department of Finance declined to comment on potential candidates. The ministry said it will undertake a “comprehensive process” to find a new governor.

As Lane prepares to move, Ireland must decide whether to appoint another outsider to the governor’s job or return to the pre-financial crisis tradition of appointing from within the civil service.

The position also carries a seat on the ECB Governing Council. The government aims to choose the next governor before Lane formally takes up his ECB role in June. If it does not meet that deadline, it can appoint an interim governor for as long as three months.

Sharon Donnery may be set to succeed Lane as governor at the Irish central bank, at least according to betting markets. Donnery, currently deputy governor for central banking, is even money to get the job according to bookmaker Paddy Power. - Bloomberg