Mark Carney: An 'international and radical choice'

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney Photo: Chris Watt / Reuters

A few months ago speculation bubbled around Mark Carney, the current Governor of the Bank of Canada and now, to be the next boss of the Bank of England.

Back then at the end of the summer, Mark Carney, rated internationally although little known in the UK, ruled himself out of even applying for the job. When asked if it were "no or never" to taking up the position at the helm of the bank in Threadneedle Street, he is reported to have said "both".

Since then the focus here has been on who on the list of British banking grandees it would be.

Just a couple of hours ago most people, myself included, believed that Paul Tucker, the popular deputy governor, was the most likely to take the job.

But what a government source described to me as a 'international and radical choice' has been made. Not just Bank insiders, like Paul Tucker, but UK candidates all lost out. A genuine newcomer to the Bank of England won the contest.

Carney is extremely well respected. Canada did not have to bail out any of its banks during the financial crisis. Its economy has not hobbled like so many others.

Yet when Carney was thought to be a candidate several sources expressed to me caution about him as a potential Governor. Not because he is not liked or extremely capable. But because the UK economy and all the City of London with all its complexity is a very different beast to the Canadian economy.

With the Governor's powers increasing the job is going to be even more complex than it is under Mervyn King. But Carney, the former Goldman Sachs banker, he is considered to be an extremely bright, talented and capable man. And his appointment, a rare surprise.