Bank of England job will put Carney to the test

Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:54pm EDT
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By William Schomberg

LONDON (Reuters) - Mark Carney is gearing up for what some have called a mission impossible: turn around Britain's ailing economy, fix its banks and lead an overhaul of the Bank of England.

Currently head of the Bank of Canada, Britain's finance minister called Carney "the outstanding central banker of his generation."

But he may struggle if he pushes for quick change at the BoE, despite its dramatically expanded powers.

A first challenge for the BoE's only foreign governor in 319 years will be to temper expectations when he starts in July.

"Wanted, a new governor of the Bank of England. Only superhumans need apply," was how Ed Balls, an opposition Labor party lawmaker who was at the heart of the decision to give the bank control of interest rates in 1997, put it last year.

Britain may have slipped back into recession. Policymakers are split over what to do next and the government insists it will not spend more to get growth going again.

Carney has said his role would not be "a super governor position" and he would work with fellow policymakers to tackle "the immense challenges" ahead for the $2.5 trillion economy.

The 48 year-old has already had a taste of what he can expect from Britain's media when newspapers splashed details of his pay and benefits worth more than 850,000 pounds a year.   Continued...

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney speaks as he is interviewed by Chrystia Freeland (not pictured), Thomson Reuters Managing Director and Editor, Consumer News, at the National Press Club in Washington April 18, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron