Bailey Hires First Woman for BOE’s ‘Unofficial Governor’ Role

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Bank of England chief Andrew Bailey has broken new ground in his choice of private secretary -- a role described by one lawmaker as the central bank’s “unofficial governor.”

Laura Wallis will become the first woman in charge of the governor’s office when she takes up the role on Aug. 3. She joined the BOE as part of the Prudential Regulation Authority in 2013, after a decade at the Financial Services Authority.

The role of private secretary, who’s in charge of overseeing the implementation of the governor’s policies with other officials, is seen as a stepping stone to the highest ranks at the central bank. The remit offers insights into every corner of the 326-year-old institution.

At the PRA, Wallis’s roles included supervision of international banks and overseeing the BOE’s work relating to the U.K.’s exit from the European Union. Most recently she was Head of Financial Market Infrastructure Regulation.

She also served as co-chair of the BOE’s women’s network until 2018. The bank started recruiting female employees as far back as the 1890s, but recently it’s struggled to meet targets for their advancement to senior management roles.

The BOE confirmed Wallis’ appointment to the position, which is the equivalent management grade to director.

Previous holders include Executive Director for Financial Stability Alex Brazier -- who described the job as the governor’s “eyes and ears” -- and Bailey himself, who served in the role under Eddie George.

Other former holders of the post who went on to more senior roles include Spencer Dale, chief economist under Mervyn King, and Paul Tucker, who was considered among the front runners to head the BOE when King left.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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