Pedestrians pass in front of the Bank of England (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg)

Lone Male Applicant for BOE Job Was Picked on Merit, Treasury Says

(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. Treasury said it was won over by Jonathan Haskel’s expertise in productivity and innovation when choosing the only man among the five candidates interviewed to join the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee.

In a June 19 letter to Nicky Morgan, chair of Parliament’s Treasury Committee, Permanent Secretary Tom Scholar said the appointment of the new external member was made on merit and that Haskel’s broad academic experience had also stood out in his favor.

The decision was notable because lawmakers have pushed strongly for a more diverse MPC. The BOE’s nine-member rate-setting committee currently comprises eight white men and one woman. The central bank recently published data that showed its efforts to increase the proportion of women in senior roles have plateaued at 29 percent.

The interview panel, led by Chief Economic Adviser Clare Lombardelli, assessed candidates against criteria including knowledge, analytical ability, independence of thought, interpersonal and communication skills, and integrity, Scholar said in the letter, which was published Wednesday. He declined to release any further information on the other shortlisted candidates, citing their privacy and the risk of discouraging future applicants.

Scholar said they had all received detailed feedback to help maintain the “strong pipeline” of female candidates. Forty-four women were contacted to inform them of the vacancy and eight applied for the role, half of whom were selected for interview.

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