(Adds comments by central bank governor)
By Leah Schnurr
TORONTO, April 11 The Bank of Canada named
Carolyn Wilkins as its senior deputy governor on Friday,
promoting an insider with strong financial markets expertise and
credibility with Bay Street bankers as the central bank's No. 2
Wilkins, with more than a decade of experience inside the
bank and most recently as adviser to the governor, will start
her seven-year term May 2.
She replaces Tiff Macklem, who is leaving to become dean of
a business school in Toronto and will be the first woman to hold
Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said the range of
ideal qualifications for the job "just pop out of this
candidate" and described Wilkins as a "jack of all trades."
She has experience in economic research, forecasting and
project management, he said. She headed the bank's financial
stability department during the global financial crisis and
negotiated with financial market players on complex new rules
for collateral used in the over-the-counter derivatives market.
Her skills fill a gap among the bank's top policymakers,
where there is more macro-economic experience than financial
markets expertise since the departure of Mark Carney last year
to lead the Bank of England.
"Having that awareness and direct hands-on interaction with
(financial market) players I think is a positive thing," said
Poloz. "That diversification of experience and abilities is
important to us."
Hiring a woman was not a conscious decision, Poloz said, but
an added bonus.
He also said he appreciated Wilkins's institutional memory
as he is relatively new on the job. He took over as governor
last June, although he worked at the central bank for several
years earlier in his career.
Wilkins will take up the role at a time when the central
bank's concerns about the weak inflation environment have seen
it shift to a more neutral policy stance.
She will sit on the six-member governing council, which sets
interest rates. While rates are expected to stay low into next
year, the duration of her term will almost certainly see the
central bank aim to navigate raising rates without disrupting
economic growth. The Bank of Canada has kept rates at 1 percent
"The Bank of Canada has pretty good bench strength, and
Carolyn is a perfect example of that," said Craig Wright, chief
economist at Royal Bank of Canada.
"She can be working a model in her head and manage to
communicate to people. In today's environment, central banks are
increasingly leaning on communication arguably as a policy tool,
so I think she's perfectly positioned to be in there."
Wilkins is equally at ease in English and French and her
strong speaking skills will come in handy, said Poloz.
"Carolyn is a great communicator. You'll see that
immediately," he said.
The senior deputy job previously included responsibilities
as the central bank's chief operating officer, but the bank
recently created a separate position for those administrative
duties. Filipe Dinis was appointed to that position earlier this
Wilkins joined the bank in 2001 and is currently adviser to
Poloz. She also serves as secretary to the bank's Governing
Council and leads the preparation of the bank's quarterly
Monetary Policy Reports.
She will likely take over some of the international
responsibilities held by Macklem, such as representing the bank
at the Financial Stability Board, the global task force on
"It is very much in keeping with the bank of old, as opposed
to bringing somebody new that would try to introduce a different
approach to policy," said David Tulk, chief Canada macro
strategist at TD Securities, who said he worked with Wilkins
briefly in the early days of his career at the Bank of Canada.
"She's certainly a qualified choice and I think reflects the
era of when Governor Poloz was previously there in a research
capacity as head of the research group. That's someone he
would've known and probably worked with over that period."
The selection was made by the independent members of the
bank's board and was approved by the government.
(Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp, Solarina Ho and Louise
Egan in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler and Ken Wills)