Uncertain fate of Bank of England governor in Brexit era

carneyLONDON: Media speculation was divided Sunday on the fate of the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, with competing claims as to whether he is set to announce his departure amid Brexit tensions.

The Canadian is on a five-year contract that expires in 2018 but has an option to extend the job until 2021, a decision the central bank has said will be made public by the end of this year.

Media reports suggest Carney will not take up the option to stay on, with the Sunday Times newspaper saying he was “disillusioned” with Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative government.

Carney has been criticised by eurosceptic Conservatives for his warnings of the economic impact of Brexit before the June referendum vote to leave the European Union.

In her speech to her party conference earlier his month, May also appeared to criticise the bank’s policy, saying quantitative easing and low interest rates hurt savers.

But following speculation Carney would be out the door in 2018, the Financial Times late on Sunday reported the governor is “said to be leaning strongly towards staying in his post” until 2021.

“Friends say Mr Carney is determined to defend the Bank of England’s independence in the face of a sustained attack by Brexiters,” the newspaper reported.

Carney told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday that any decision would be “entirely personal”.

“No one should read anything into that decision in terms of government policy,” he said.

The job was “an absolute privilege”, he said, but added: “Like everyone I have personal circumstances that I have to manage.

“This is a role that requires total attention, devotion, and I intend to give it for as long as I can. Those are the only factors.”

A bank spokesman declined to comment on the speculation, or on reports that Carney may announce his decision as soon as Thursday.

Business Secretary Greg Clark told the BBC on Sunday that Carney’s future at the bank was “a decision for him” but said he had done a “fantastic job”.