Trudeau Poised to Appoint New Bank of Canada Governor Friday

(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is ready to name a new leader at the Bank of Canada, according to people familiar with the matter, ending weeks of speculation about its choice.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is scheduled to make the announcement Friday morning at 9:30 in Ottawa, according to an advisory from his office. He will be joined by outgoing Governor Stephen Poloz, whose term ends June 2. The people, who spoke Thursday night on condition they not be identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter, didn’t reveal who has been selected.

Poloz’s top deputy, Carolyn Wilkins, who has played a key role in the central bank’s response to the crisis, was one of two finalists for the job, according to the other people familiar with the selection process who spoke to Bloomberg News last week. While the second name has yet to emerge in public, BlackRock Inc.’s Jean Boivin is no longer in contention.

Trudeau Poised to Appoint New Bank of Canada Governor Friday

Tiff Macklem, dean of the University of Toronto’s management school and a former central bank official, regularly features in speculation, though it’s unclear whether he has sought the position.

Whoever gets the nod will inherit a job that’s dramatically different even from when candidates were formally interviewed in February and early March. In an effort to stabilize an economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and tumbling oil prices, Poloz has cut the benchmark interest rate to near zero, injected hundreds of billions in liquidity into the banking sector and started purchasing government debt.

The immediate task for the next governor will be deciding whether to ramp up emergency measures that have already taken the bank into uncharted waters. The level of real gross domestic product in the second quarter could be as much as 30% lower than the end of last year, the bank said in its April 15 monetary policy report.

Wilkins had long been seen the front-runner, and with the central bank still in the thick of its emergency response, would offer the most continuity. Her leadership role in keeping financial markets functioning has given her an opportunity to build credibility with key players such as the heads of Canada’s commercial banks, a group that has plenty of sway over who becomes governor.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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