Wharton's Amir Yaron Confirmed as Bank of Israel Governor

(Bloomberg) -- Amir Yaron, a finance professor at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton school of business, was confirmed Sunday as Bank of Israel governor, and will start work December 24.

Yaron, 54, succeeds Karnit Flug, who stepped down Nov. 13. Flug’s deputy, Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg, is serving as acting governor until Yaron takes over, and will preside at the monetary policy committee meeting Nov. 26.

“I will do all in my power to fortify the strength and continued growth of the Israeli economy so that the entire Israeli public will benefit from its results,” Yaron said in a statement. “I am excited to return to Israel after the years I spent in the United States pursuing my academic work, and I view this position as the pinnacle of my professional career.”

Among the key decisions Yaron will have to make is when to begin raising the bank’s benchmark interest rate, which has been held at an all-time low of 0.1 percent since March 2015. After years of near-zero inflation, the consumer price index rose 1.2 percent on-year in October, within the bank’s target range of 1 percent to 3 percent.

The central bank’s research department expects the first interest rate increase to happen in early 2019.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.