As with many high-profile civil service posts, speculation about Mervyn King’s successor is already rife. Following the rumour that Canadian banker Mark Carney had been approached about the job, Jim O’Neill, currently chair of Goldman Sachs asset management (GSAM) division, is also being pipped as a likely candidate for the Bank of England governor role.
The 55-year-old O'Neill certainly has the credentials for the job, having been chief economist for Goldman. Rumours that he is looking to move on began circulating after he changed roles to head the somewhat less glamorous asset management business. Naturally, O’Neill has refused to comment.
When the time comes, the appointment will be made by George Osborne and O'Neill's Goldman Sachs background could make him a controversial choice, as far as the public are concerned. A resignation letter made public last month from a former employee of the bank describing a 'toxic’ culture has put the firm under the spotlight as another target for anti-banker sentiment.
Other rumoured contenders for the post are Sir John Vickers, Lord O’Donnell and Lord Turner, current chairman of the Financial Services Authority. But Paul Tucker, the BoE’s current deputy governor for financial stability, remains the favourite to take the post, and we still have some time to go before any decisions must be made. Merv won’t be on his bike before June next year, but the choice of successors just keeps on widening.