OTTAWA - Stephen Poloz, the former head of Export Development Canada, was named Thursday as the next governor of the Bank of Canada, replacing Mark Carney, whose term ends June 1.
The appointment to a seven-year term follows a lengthy five-month search process set in motion by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty after Carney announced he would step down June 1.
"Stephen Poloz has a long and distinguished career in the public and private sectors with 30 years experience in financial markets, forecasting and economic policy,” Flaherty told a news conference.
"I am confident he has the skills and experience required to lead the Bank of Canada at a time of global economic uncertainty."
Poloz has been president and chief executive at EDC since 2011. He joined the organization in 1999 as vice-president and chief economist, and in 2004 was named senior vice-president, corporate affairs.
He spent five years with Montreal-based BCA Research, and 14 years with the Bank of Canada in various capacities. He holds degrees in economics from the University of Western Ontario and Queen’s University.
"The bank's employees are its greatest strength, and thanks to their efforts, the Bank of Canada enjoys a tremendous reputation globally as one of the world's most effective and highly regarded central banks," Poloz said.
"I pledge to do my utmost to live up to the high standards set by those who came before me."
Flaherty described the search for Carney's successor as an "extremely thorough" process that yielded the best candidates from around the world.
"Mark Carney has been a visionary leader, an economic partner and a friend," Flaherty said. "Over the past few years we have faced some unprecedented economic challenges and we surmounted."
Carney, who is leaving to take over the top job at the Bank of England, won respect across the global financial community for his leadership and deft handling of the challenges wrought by the recession.
"I've always enjoyed his sharp insights on the Canadian and global economies, and I've admired his sound judgment and inspired leadership at EDC," Carney said.
"It is much easier to leave knowing that an individual as competent and talented as Steve will be coming back to the bank to take over."
The early favourite to replace him had been Tiff Macklem, 51, the second-in-command at the bank who had apparently been groomed for the prestigious post. Indeed, many central-bank watchers described Thursday's news as a stunner.
"Who said that central banking was boring? The choice of Stephen Poloz as the new governor of the Bank of Canada is a huge surprise," CIBC said in a note to clients.
"Why did the Finance Minister decide to take this direction as opposed to the widely expected choice of going with the current senior deputy governor? The answer may be that the minister would like to see a governor with more experience with dealing directly with the private sector."
Other candidates included Stanford University professor Darrell Duffie, and past and current bank deputies.
The position comes with a salary of between $431,800 and $507,900.