Bank of England Governor Mark Carney on Thursday gave outgoing IMF chief Christine Lagarde his warm support while addressing the European Central Bank, but avoided questions about whether he wants to succeed her.
Canada must end its publication in London in late January and has been judged by bookmakers as one of the early favorites to take over the International Monetary Fund Lagarde once confirmed in the Frankfurt-based ECB.
“I want to take the opportunity to praise the role that Christine Lagarde has played and the leadership she has played in the IMF,” Carney said at a press conference marking the publication of the latest BoE Financial Stability Report.
He said it had been an “absolute privilege” to serve as head of Britain’s central bank, but he refused to go beyond what the future might hold.
The process to elect a new IMF managing director “should be open, transparent and based on merit, so that the time comes when that process begins, and that is probably the right time to answer that question.”
Carney also has British and Irish passports, so he would qualify to replace Lagarde under an agreement whereby one European leads the IMF and one American, the World Bank.
That convention has come under pressure in recent years by developing economies that demand greater participation in Washington-based institutions, although American David Malpass was elected unopposed in April to head the World Bank.
Lagarde leaves the IMF two years ahead of schedule after European Union leaders, at a summit this month, nominated her to succeed Mario Draghi as president of the ECB.