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Britain's Central Bank Picks Canadian As New Chief


Britain has chosen its next central banker - and for the first time since the Bank of England was founded in 1694, that choice is not a British citizen. Yesterday, Britain chose Mark Carney for the job. He's currently Canada's central bank chief.

The BBC's Jonty Bloom has more.

JONTY BLOOM, BYLINE: The governor of the Bank of England is probably the most powerful non-elected official in Great Britain. The Bank not only fights inflation and sets interest rates, it is responsible for trying to kick start the recovery - and it is about to regain the power to regulate the banking industry.

To oversee all that, the British finance minister, George Osborne, choose Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of Canada, where the banks were so well regulated that they survived the credit crunch unscathed.

GEORGE OSBORNE: Britain needs the very best at a time like this and in Mark Carney, we've got him. Mr. Carney is unique amongst the potential candidates in combining long experience of central banking, huge international credibility in economics, deep expertise in financial regulation and a firsthand experience of private sector financial institutions. He is acknowledged as the outstanding central banker of his generation.

BLOOM: Mark Carney said publically that he was not interested in this job, but in the end, changed his mind, applied and saw off an impressive list of rivals. He will now take charge of an organization roundly criticized for not seeing the credit crunch coming, but which emerged from the crisis with more power and responsibility.

MONTAGNE: And that was Jonty Bloom of the BBC. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.