Observers say four main candidates in line to be Bank of Canada governor

Attention turned quickly Friday to who might succeed Stephen Poloz as governor of the Bank of Canada after he confirmed he will not seek a second appointment when his seven-year term expires next year.

Observers narrowed the field to four leading potential candidates and a couple of others who might be nominated by the bank's board for a federal government appointment. Here is the lineup:

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Carolyn Wilkins

The current senior deputy governor is considered the leading candidate by many.

"She's been groomed for that role," said James Marple, senior economist for TD Bank. "She's been highly involved in setting monetary policy as a sort of second-in-command to governor Poloz."

Wilkins would be the first female governor, a factor that might weigh in her favour, agreed Sherry Cooper, chief economist at Dominion Lending Centres.

Jean Boivin

The global head of research for BlackRock Investment Institute is a former deputy governor of the Bank of Canada. If named, he would be the first francophone governor.

"Jean Boivin ... is extremely well thought of in the financial community and in the academic community and in the policy community," said Jean-Francois Perrault, chief economist for Scotiabank.

Perrault said Boivin's former role as a senior policy maker in the federal Finance department would also stand him in good stead.

Tiff Macklem

The former senior deputy governor at the Bank of Canada was considered a leading candidate to be governor in 2013 but was passed over when Poloz was appointed.

That fact, and his current role as dean of the Rotman School of Management, make it less likely he will be chosen, said Marple.

Perrault, however, considers Macklem a leading candidate along with Boivin. He said he is a "very accomplished individual" with the skills and respectability to do the job.

Paul Rochon

The long-serving deputy minister in the federal Finance department is the only one of the top four candidates who hasn't worked at the bank.

That could be an advantage. The last three governors, David Dodge, Mark Carney and Poloz, were not employed by the bank when they were appointed, seemingly overturning the previous practice of promoting a deputy governor as governor, noted Queen's University economist Don Drummond.

Other candidates

Evan Siddall, the chief executive at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., is another possible replacement as governor, said Cooper.

Bill Robson, CEO of the C.D. Howe Institute, and McGill University economist Christopher Ragan also come to mind, said Drummond.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2019.

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