A leading candidate for the upcoming job of governor of the Bank of England – former deputy governor Rachel Lomax – dramatically ruled herself out of the race during a BBC Radio 4 interview this week.
Saying that her life had “moved on”, Lomax made it clear that she was not interested in the post – advertised for the first time in last Friday’s Economist – and lamented the lack of credible female candidates. Some commentators have already argued that the shortfall was inevitable, given public reaction to alpha-male behaviour in the financial sector that contributed to excessive risk taking and bubble building ahead of the crash.
Current incumbent Sir Mervyn King is due to step down next year, and Lomax stressed that his successor faces an immense task. With the country still deep in the midst of a prolonged financial crisis, the Bank will take over regulatory duties previously performed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). As such, it will be required to oversee the entire financial system and focus on preventing the very activities that triggered the 2008 collapse.
Lomax worked as deputy governor from 2003 to 2008, leaving – with impeccable timing – just before the fall of Lehman Brothers. She is now a non-executive director of HSBC. It is likely that the Bank of England directorship is more suited to someone who has been at the coalface there for the past four years or so, and seen the crisis first-hand – but it is clear that the lucky candidate will inherit a very difficult brief indeed.