August 8, 2014 / 4:18 PM / 4 years ago

Top Canada finance official quits for private-sector job

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Jean Boivin, the Canadian Finance Ministry’s second most powerful official and a man seen as a potential candidate to head the Bank of Canada one day, is leaving to take a job in the private sector, the ministry said on Friday.

Canada's Finance Minister Joe Oliver (R) makes remarks to the press as Canada's G7 and G20 Deputy Minister Jean Boivin listens during the IMF/World Bank's 2014 Spring Meetings in Washington April 11, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

Boivin will leave on August 29, a spokesman said, saying he had no further details. Two-well placed sources earlier told Reuters that ministry staff were told last week about Boivin’s impending departure.

The news came as a surprise, since Boivin had only taken up his position as associate deputy minister in October 2012. He also serves as Canada’s representative to the Group of Seven, the Group of 20 and the Financial Stability Board.

Boivin declined an interview request from Reuters, saying he had no further details to share.

In an e-mail to staff announcing the move, the Finance Ministry’s deputy minister, Paul Rochon, said Boivin had “consistently made outstanding contributions at the highest levels.”

Boivin moved to the Finance Ministry from the Bank of Canada, where he had been a deputy governor from 2010 to 2012 and before that a special adviser to then-Governor Mark Carney.

Market players say he is a possible candidate to eventually head the Bank of Canada.

Gaining experience outside the central bank and the federal bureaucracy proved important for Carney and the current governor, Stephen Poloz, who were both outsiders when named to the top job and who both beat favored internal candidates.

Poloz, who started a seven-year term as governor in June 2013, had worked for the Bank of Canada for 13 years before joining a private research firm. He later worked for Export Development Canada, where he became president in 2011.

Carney spent 13 years at Goldman Sachs before joining the Bank of Canada in 2003 as a deputy governor. He left after a year to join the Finance Ministry and returned to the central bank as governor in 2008.

In April this year, when Poloz named Lynn Patterson to the bank’s rate-setting governing council, he cited her “extensive market experience and her understanding of financial-sector issues” as a reason for her appointment.

The Finance Ministry spokesman had no information as to who would replace Boivin as representative to the G7 and G20.

One obvious candidate, senior Finance Ministry official Jeremy Rudin, was named as head of Canada’s banking and insurance regulator in June.

Boivin, who also co-chaired a G20 working group on strong sustainable and balanced growth, was a professor before he joined the Bank of Canada in 2009. He held the chair of monetary policy and financial markets of the Institute of Applied Economics at HEC Montreal, a university business school. He is married with three young children.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Leslie Adler

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