* Carney to be first foreigner atop major central bank
* Monetary policy has largely been a national affair
* Top hats and pink tailcoats await Canadian in London
By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian and Jonathan Spicer
NEW YORK, Nov 26 Britain's choice of a Canadian
to run the Bank of England could usher central bankers into the
realm of globe-trotting elites that dominate the top jobs in
business and sports.
When Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney takes over the BoE
next summer, as announced Monday, it will be the first time a
foreigner has held the top position at a major national central
Britons are used to not worrying about nationality and
embracing professional credentials instead, allowing foreigners
to run their national soccer teams as well as top companies.
The British central bank was already trend-setter in
welcoming outsiders in its ranks. Americans DeAnne Julius and,
until this year, Adam Posen, served as members of the Bank of
England's decision-making Monetary Policy Committee.
By contrast, few Americans could imagine the U.S. president
nominating a Briton to even sit on the Board of Governors of the
Federal Reserve, much less run it.
But as the world of finance becomes increasingly globalized,
appointments like Carney's could become less unusual, some say.
"We don't think twice about having the best surgeon or the
best engineer or the best mathematician. Having the best central
banker is not a bad idea," said Kim Schoenholtz, director of the
Center for Global Economy and Business at New York University,
and a former chief economist at Citigroup.
"This is a professionalization of the craft of central
In explaining the surprising decision, Chancellor of the
Exchequer George Osborne stressed Carney's "fresh perspective"
and called him "the very best" choice for the job, before
nodding to potential concerns about loyalty.
"As a Canadian Citizen, is subject to Her Majesty
the Queen," Osborne said, adding that, though it is not
required, he will apply for British citizenship.
Even so, Carney may feel out of place in the Bank of
England's grandiose "parlours," or being accompanied through its
marble halls by "pinks" - the bank's iconic doormen who still
wear top hats and pink tailcoats.
A 'MIRROR OF MULTINATIONALS'
It is not uncommon for governments to trust non-citizens in
matters of national importance.
The Papal Swiss Guards, once leased out by their government
as mercenaries, still protect the Vatican, and the French
Foreign Legion is composed mostly of non-French volunteers who
fight for a country that is not their own.
Countries welcome promising Olympic athletes from abroad to
compete on their behalf, and businesses with strong ties to
their homeland look for leaders beyond their borders.
In one of countless examples of the private sector importing
top executives, Anshu Jain, a British citizen of Indian descent,
recently became the head of Deutsche Bank. At the
time, Jain did not speak German.
But the protection of the money in people's pockets has been
considered, at least until now, largely a national affair.
Carney runs the risk of attracting jingoistic criticism if
the struggling British economy fails to gain momentum in the
years to come.
"In that sense, he will be restricted," said Edwin Truman,
senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International
Economics, and a former director of the Federal Reserve Board's
international finance division.
"Will he be more or less inclined to clash with the
Parliament and government on fiscal policy?" Truman said. "I
would think he would do less of that."
Peter Spiro, a citizenship law expert and professor at
Temple University, said the traditional sense of national
loyalty was being tested as business and finance goes global,
and so does the expertise required to regulate it.
"Those questions have mostly been taken over by
globalization," he said, adding that Carney's selection is "a
mirror of what's going on in the context of multinationals."