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MNI: BOC's No. 2 Job is Vacant Five Months After Wilkins Left

Investors see adviser Sharon Kozicki as strong candidate

MNI (Ottawa)

The Bank of Canada has been without a Senior Deputy Governor for five months amid the biggest economic upheaval since World War II, as the search to replace Carolyn Wilkins who left on Dec. 9 continues.

The process has moved beyond the early stages to find a candidate that meets due diligence tests, a government official told MNI, and a decision could be wrapped up soon. "An announcement will be made in due course," central bank spokeswoman Rebecca Spence told MNI. Neither specified exactly what the remaining steps are. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland would have to secure cabinet approval for a nominee selected by the BOC's outside board of directors.

Market sources contacted by MNI, some of whom spoke anonymously to discuss a sensitive personnel matter, said Sharon Kozicki is the most obvious candidate. Kozicki is already fairly senior as an adviser to the Governor and well respected for her expertise. Still, some sources thought the BOC may need to bring her in first as a deputy governor and promote one of the other deputies like Paul Beaudry to the senior position.

"She's sharp, well versed on monetary and broader policy matters, a great communicator and more than ready to succeed as Senior Deputy Governor at the Bank of Canada," said Tony Stillo, Canada director at Oxford Economics and a former forecasting manager at Ontario's finance ministry.

Wilkins left before the end of her regular seven-year term after the Governor's job went to Tiff Macklem as Stephen Poloz retired, continuing a pattern of passing over the top deputy. The BOC said at the time the board had engaged an outside search firm and the job ad called for a Canadian citizen who could speak the two official languages of English and French.

With the Senior Deputy's job vacant, any absence or incapacitation of the Governor would have to be filled by a deputy approved by the board of directors, and after a month that decision would need cabinet approval. The job vacancy contrasts with some quick hiring during the Covid-19 pandemic to replace departing top officials at finance, Poloz, and Freeland becoming Canada's first female finance minister soon after Bill Morneau left cabinet.

Without Wilkins, the Governing Council in charge of the BOC's record low 0.25% policy interest rate and QE of CAD3 billion a week is lacking a woman or visible minority. That lags other major central banks and Justin Trudeau's Liberal government that has brought gender parity to cabinet. The BOC also recently launched a diversity strategy and Governor Macklem has highlighted how the pandemic recession has widened divisions across social groups. Macklem speaks Thursday on "The benefits of an inclusive economy."

MNI Ottawa Bureau | +1 613-314-9647 |
MNI Ottawa Bureau | +1 613-314-9647 |
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