LONDON (Reuters) - Australian central bank chief Glenn Stevens has been approached by British Treasury officials seeking a new head for the Bank of England after governor Mervyn King steps down next year, the Sunday Times newspaper reported.
Stevens, 54, has been governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia since September 2006 and is the country’s highest paid public servant, with an annual salary of over A$1 million ($1 million), more than double King’s earnings.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and Britain’s Treasury declined to comment on the report, which the newspaper attributed to sources in London’s financial district.
As an overseas outsider Stevens would be free of criticism aimed at some favorites to replace King because of their connections to regulation, policy making or commercial banking during the credit crunch which ravaged Britain’s economy and banks.
An economist who styles himself the “most boring man in Sydney”, Stevens is regarded as a pragmatist, shifting last year from warning of higher interest rates to cutting them twice in succession within months.
Under his leadership, the RBA was one of the first central banks to start slashing rates during the global financial crisis in 2008, even though domestic inflation was running above 4 percent. His term ends in September 2013.
Britain is seeking “a person of undisputed integrity and standing” to take over from King from July 1 next year, according to the job advert.
His successor will serve a single eight-year term and take on greater responsibility for keeping the financial system stable and regulating banks, as well as managing inflation and the economy through monetary policy.
Candidates have until 0730 GMT (8:30 a.m. British time) on Monday to submit their applications, with a decision due by the end of the year. It is the first time the job has been formally advertised.
The Treasury has declined to confirm the names of applicants for the post, which currently carries an annual salary of 308,000 pounds ($499,000).
Favorites with bookmakers include BoE Deputy Governor Paul Tucker, Financial Services Authority Chairman Adair Turner and Britain’s former top civil servant Gus O‘Donnell.
Senior figures from the commercial banking industry also in the frame include Jim O‘Neill, the chairman of Goldman Sachs’s asset management division.
Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney has ruled himself out after rumors of his candidacy circulated earlier this year.
($1 = 0.6176 British pounds)
($1 = 0.9767 Australian dollars)
Reporting by Tim Castle in London and Morag MacKinnon in Sydney; Editing by Mark Potter