LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s new government named Andrew Bailey as the Bank of England’s next boss on Friday, entrusting a veteran regulator and technocrat with steering the economy and its vast finance industry through Brexit.
During a 30-year stint at the BoE, Bailey helped shore up the banking system against the global financial crisis. Since 2016 he has led the industry’s watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority.
Finance minister Sajid Javid called him “the stand-out candidate” as Britain maps out its future outside the EU, and he hailed Bailey’s role in quelling the 2008-09 crisis.
“It is a tribute to his integrity and his character that he emerged from that… with his reputation enhanced in Whitehall, in the City of London and in financial capitals,” Javid said.
Bailey, who has sought to present a neutral stance on Brexit, said he was honored to succeed Mark Carney “particularly at such a critical time for the nation as we leave the European Union.”
Britain had delayed the appointment since 2018 as it focused on its tortuous EU departure and on an election emphatically won last week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Bailey was an early front-runner for the job but as the announcement was pushed back, his chances seemed to have dimmed, with his critics accusing him of pulling his punches at the FCA.
Supporters say he knows how to use the BoE’s sweeping powers without alienating bankers, and his financial crisis role makes him familiar to top officials at other major central banks.
“When he was in the room you were confident you had someone who was worth listening to and, importantly, also had the solution to what the problem might be,” a former official involved in the crisis said,