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Stephen Poloz will be Next Bank of Canada Governor

It was yesterday that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced that after “an exhaustive domestic and international search,” a new Bank of Canada Governor has been found. But it’s not who everyone thought it would be. Predictions made early called for Tiff Macklem, senior deputy governor, to take over the job.

Poloz, 57, is the current head of Export Development Canada, and his seven-year term at the BoC will begin on June 3, two days after his predecessor, Mark Carney, steps down from the post.

In the announcement, Flaherty told reporters that the new governor “has the skills and experience required to lead the Bank of Canada at a time of global economic uncertainty.”

And the board of directors at the central bank agrees, saying “Mr. Poloz has significant knowledge of financial markets and monetary policy issues and extensive management experience. We are confident Mr. Poloz will make an outstanding contribution to the work of the Bank and uphold its reputation as a leading central bank.”

Meanwhile, speaking about the new position himself, Poloz said the he pledges to “do my utmost to live up to the very high standards of those who came before me.”

Poloz graduated from Queen’s University in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. The next year he received his master’s in economics, and a PhD in economics in 1982. The latter two degrees he earned from the University of Western Ontario. And, he’s no stranger to the Bank either. He first started working at the BoC in 1981, and held different positions of seniority there over a period of 14 years.

It was after that time that Poloz went to work with BCA Research, based out of Montreal, and then in 1999 he joined Export Development Canada to be their chief economist. Just over two years ago, in January 2011, he was promoted to president and CEO of EDC.

But even with all the praise and all his credentials, some industry experts were very surprised with the decision, although everyone seems to be in agreement that it was a good one.

“Who said that central banking was boring?” asked CIBC in a note to their clients. “The choice of Stephen Poloz as the new governor of the Bank of Canada is a huge surprise.

Why did the Finance Minister decide to take this direction as opposed to the widely expected choice of going with the current senior deputy governor? The answer may be that the minister would like to see a governor with more experience dealing directly with the private sector.”

TD Bank’s chief economist, Craig Alexander, spoke to CTV after the announcement was made, and he clearly sees the reason why Poloz was chosen.

“The key message here is that Steve Poloz is an extraordinarily strong economic but he’s also an extremely good manager and leader,” Alexander said. “And so I think that he has all the skills that you would be looking for in an incoming governor of the Bank of Canada.”

Alexander also added that because the public and media isn’t so familiar with Poloz just yet, “markets will be dissecting every sentence that he says.”

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