| OTTAWA, March 17
OTTAWA, March 17 Canada's central bank is
redefining the role of its No. 2 policymaker, introducing
changes that may attract a broader range of candidates to fill
the job when the current second-in-command, Tiff Macklem, steps
down later this year.
To split off some of the responsibilities now undertaken by
Macklem, the Bank of Canada's senior deputy governor, the bank
is creating the position of chief operating officer (COO),
according to a job vacancy posted online by executive
recruitment firm Boyden.
Until now, the bank's No. 2 has been required to do the work
of a COO, overseeing corporate planning and coordinating the
bank's operations, as well as helping to set monetary policy.
"The bank is redefining its management structure, which
includes transferring the operational oversight that has
traditionally been part of the senior deputy governor's (SDG)
role to the newly created position of chief operating officer,"
the job description says.
"Reporting to the SDG, the COO will be devoted to managing
the increasing complexity of the bank's administrative
functions, and ensure the operational sustainability, vitality
and effectiveness of the bank."
The restructuring of the upper echelons comes as bank
Governor Stephen Poloz has his first chance since taking the
helm last June to bring fresh faces into the bank's six-member
rate-setting Governing Council.
The bank is grappling with below-target inflation in Canada
and sluggish exports that are holding back growth, a trend it
said has been puzzling.
Macklem is leaving May 1 to become the dean of a business
school in Toronto and Deputy Governor John Murray is retiring on
The planned changes would put the Bank of Canada more in
line with the U.S. Federal Reserve, which has a standalone COO.
It also frees up the top policymakers to focus on economic
analysis and monetary policy without the time-consuming
distractions of issues such as building renovations or
The Bank of Canada confirmed that the dual responsibilities
of the senior deputy governor would be reduced to focus on
"This role is being redefined to emphasize the policy
aspect," said Dale Alexander, spokeswoman for the bank.
The senior deputy governor will continue to have ultimate
responsibility for the bank's operations but with the "added
assistance of a COO," she said.
LOWER HURDLE FOR OUTSIDERS
The widely held view among central bank watchers has been
that an internal candidate, likely a deputy governor, would
succeed Macklem because someone with years of experience in the
bank and an understanding of its inner workings was more likely
to be able to take on those COO tasks.
But that assumption no longer holds true, and Macklem's job
could attract outsiders or economists who were otherwise
deterred by those extra demands.
"It previously meant someone from the inside or someone who
had worked at the bank would probably find it easier fitting
into that role," said Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at
the Royal Bank of Canada. "With them lessening that COO
responsibility, it doesn't make it as imperative."
"It may not have prevented them hiring someone from the
outside but certainly the hurdle isn't as high as it used to
be," he said.
Ferley, who worked at the Bank of Canada earlier in his
career, also said it could make the job "more attractive" to an
economist who is interested in monetary policy but not so much
in the operational side of things.
"There often was a feeling that the senior deputy governor
spent an amount of time staying on top of the operations of the
bank and didn't have as much opportunity to stay involved in
monetary policy analysis and monitoring the economy," he said.
Macklem and his predecessor, Paul Jenkins, both had long
histories in the Bank of Canada before stepping into the role of
senior deputy governor.
The last four senior deputy governors did not go on to
become governor, another possible deterrent to anyone who has
aspirations for the top job.
Analysts so far have pointed almost exclusively to internal
candidates as the strongest contenders to replace Macklem, with
Jean Boivin and Agathe Cote the two mentioned the most.
Boivin, a former university professor, was a deputy governor
at the central bank from 2010 until 2012, when he went to the
finance ministry to become Canada's finance deputy at the Group
of Seven and Group of 20.
Cote was appointed deputy governor in 2010 after working her
way up through the ranks of the institution after joining in
Both are native French speakers and Cote would be the first
woman in the role.
"I think Agathe Cote may have a slight edge," said Charles
St-Arnaud, economist at Nomura Securities.
Deputy Governor Timothy Lane has been fingered as another
possibility. He left the International Monetary Fund in 2008 to
join the bank as an adviser to the governor. He was promoted to
deputy governor in 2009.