1493161608186 - Reserve Bank promotes Geoff Bascand, possible future governor, to deputy chief executive

Reserve Bank promotes Geoff Bascand, possible future governor, to deputy chief executive

One of the economists tipped to become the next Reserve Bank governor has been promoted to be the central bank’s deputy chief executive.

On Wednesday the Reserve Bank said Geoff Bascand, the former government statistician who is now head of operations, would become head of financial stability and deputy chief executive.

The promotion take effect from September 27, when governor Graeme Wheeler steps down, replaced by acting governor Grant Spencer.

The appointment of a permanent replacement has been delayed for six months, as Wheeler’s term comes to an end days after the general election. 

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The delay means the next government will have time to set a new policy targets agreement under which the governor would operate for his or her term in the role.

Bascand has been tipped by economists and other market observers as the most likely internal candidate to become Reserve Bank governor.

As well as a former chief executive of Statistics New Zealand, he has previously worked at the Department of Labour, heading its research unit, Treasury and the International Monetary Fund.

“Geoff brings considerable leadership experience, economics and public policy background to the role,” Wheeler said in a statement.

“Through his participation in the bank’s governing committee, financial policy committees, and chairing of the bank’s assets and liabilities committee, Geoff is very familiar with the bank’s work programmes and policy issues in the area of financial stability,” Wheeler said.

Whoever becomes governor, it now seems almost inevitable that they will work under a different operating model than Wheeler.

Labour, the Green Party and New Zealand First have all indicated plans to change the Reserve Bank’s model, while the Government recently commissioned a report on whether to made changes to the way interest rate decisions are made.

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