Carney, Bank of England Governor, to Stay in Charge Until 2020

Posted September 11, 2018 10:34 a.m. EDT

LONDON — Mark J. Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, will stay in his role until the end of January 2020, the government said Tuesday, which means that he would run the central bank for 10 months after Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Carney, who has been governor of the central bank since 2013, has been sharply criticized in recent years by supporters of Britain’s exit from the bloc, a process known as Brexit. They accuse him of taking partisan positions against the country’s withdrawal and of politicizing the bank before the June 2016 referendum in which Britons voted to leave the European Union. His most ardent opponents, led by Conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg, have called on him to resign.

The bank governor’s supporters, however, argue that Carney warded off a recession with his leadership after the referendum. They laud his calm and collected demeanor. Because he is Canadian, they say, he is a credible outsider with no skin in the game.

The leader of the Bank of England is typically appointed to an eight-year term, but Carney, a former Goldman Sachs banker, repeatedly said he would leave in 2018, citing family commitments. After the Brexit vote, he revised that stance, saying he would stay until the summer of 2019 to provide stability at the central bank.

On Tuesday, he extended his commitment.

“I am willing to do whatever I can in order to promote both a successful Brexit and an effective transition at the Bank of England,” Carney said in a letter to the chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond.

A longer stay would provide some continuity as the government negotiates the terms of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. Carney is viewed by some as a steadying hand against a background of political infighting in Britain and fraught negotiations with Brussels. Critics, though, point to his predictions that Britain’s departure could be a drag on the economy and, when economic performance turned out to be better than expected, they renewed their calls for him to leave.

Hammond said the extension of Carney’s tenure would “provide vital stability for our economy.”

The announcement comes two days before Bank of England policymakers are to meet to set the central bank’s monetary policy. The central bank raised interest rates in August to keep a lid on inflation, which was at 2.4 percent. It has sought to dial back monetary stimulus measures that were put in place after the financial crisis, but those efforts were complicated by Brexit. The bank cut its benchmark interest rate to 0.25, the lowest rate in its history, shortly after the referendum.