Haskel's New BOE Role Shows Jobs Given on Merit, McCafferty Says

(Bloomberg) -- The appointment of economist Jonathan Haskel to the Bank of England despite a shortlist dominated by women shows that the job was awarded on merit, according to the outgoing member of the interest-rate setting panel.

Haskel's New BOE Role Shows Jobs Given on Merit, McCafferty Says

Ian McCafferty, speaking on LBC Radio on Wednesday, said it was a sign of progress that four women made the final cut for the job. Haskel was the only man among the final five to replace McCafferty, who steps down from the Monetary Policy Committee at the end of August.

After decades in which economics was a male-dominated field, the shortlist “shows that there are good candidates now starting to come through, which is very positive,” McCafferty said. That Haskel got the job illustrates that “that appointment was clearly made on the basis of the merit, regardless of the gender of the people involved.”

The U.K. Treasury, in charge of the decision, drew criticism when the announcement was made earlier this month. BOE Governor Mark Carney made increasing diversity at the central bank a priority.

Responding to a question on whether more women in high-level roles at the BOE would have prevented Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent from making controversial remarks in which he compared the U.K. economy’s productivity slowdown to menopause, McCafferty said “I don’t think it’s an issue as to whether there were women at the top of the Bank of England or not,” and he noted that Broadbent had apologized.

Research from McKinsey shows that diversity at a leadership level makes an organization more likely to act inclusively.

“It’s simply that women didn’t go into those sorts of areas of expertise long enough ago,” McCafferty said. “But it is changing, and certainly within the bank we are keen to promote women to senior positions whenever we can.”

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