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Government nominates Gabriel Makhlouf for appointment as new Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland

Last updated: 2 May 2019
Published: 1 May 2019
Ó: An Roinn Airgeadais

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, is pleased to announce that today (Wednesday) the Government agreed to nominate Mr. Gabriel Makhlouf for appointment by the President as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland. Mr. Makhlouf is the Treasury Secretary and Chief Executive of the New Zealand Treasury, and the New Zealand Government’s chief economic and financial adviser.

The vacancy for this role arises from the appointment of the incumbent Governor, Philip Lane, to the Executive Board of the European Central Bank. Governor Lane will take up his new position on 1st June 2019.

Mr. Makhlouf’s nomination follows a rigorous and comprehensive international process, which included a public call for expressions of interest, online and media advertising, and an extensive executive search by Merc Partners who were appointed to manage both expressions of interest from the public call and directly approach potential candidates on a global scale throughout Europe, America, and Australasia.

There was a high level of interest in the competition. The executive search firm analysed and evaluated all applications and contacted the potential candidates. The interview panel undertook a thorough and detailed shortlisting exercise before interviewing candidates.

Gabriel Makhlouf was the interview panel’s recommended candidate.

Commenting on the nomination, Minister Donohoe stated:

‘I am delighted to nominate a person of Gabriel Makhlouf’s international calibre for appointment as Governor of our Central Bank. Gabriel has demonstrated his broad and detailed knowledge, of economics, financial markets, monetary policy, and fiscal policy, and has the experience of leading a large and complex public service organisation of 10,000 people (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs’ Debt Management & Banking Directorate). Previously he was Chair of the world’s main tax rule-making body – the Committee on Fiscal Affairs – at the OECD in Paris and was also responsible for the UK’s Government Banking Service. As Treasury Secretary and Chief Executive of the New Zealand Treasury, he is currently responsible for overseeing reforms of New Zealand’s three macroeconomic pillars (monetary policy, financial stability and fiscal policy), and is an observer on the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s monetary policy committee. He is a leader of the diversity and inclusion agenda in New Zealand’s public and private sectors. He will bring with him this wealth of experience to the role of Governor’.

It is intended that Mr Makhlouf will take up the role of Governor in September 2019.

Notes for Editors

1. Appointment Process

Section 19(1) of the Central Bank Act 1942, as amended, sets out that the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Government. Today’s decision is the Government’s recommendation to the President to appoint Mr Makhlouf to the role of Governor.

2. Role of the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland

The Central Bank of Ireland is the responsible authority for central banking and financial regulation in Ireland, and the roles and responsibilities of its Governor and Commission are set out in the EU Treaties, the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) Statute and the Central Bank Act 1942. The Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland has extensive functions and powers in relation to safeguarding macro financial stability and consumer protection. These include specific powers around financial stability, financial regulation and the governance and supervision of the broader financial sector. The Governor chairs the Central Bank Commission, and is also a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank.

3. Eligibility criteria for Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland

Section 19 of the Central Bank Act 1942, as amended, sets out the eligibility criteria for a person to be appointed as Governor of the Central Bank. The restrictions include that the appointee cannot hold elected office or be a director of a credit institution, financial institution, or insurance undertaking. There are no restrictions on the citizenship of the Governor.

4. Biography of Gabriel Makhlouf

Gabriel Makhlouf has been Secretary to the New Zealand Treasury – and its Chief Executive – since June 2011. He is the New Zealand Government’s chief economic, financial and regulatory adviser, providing advice on the Government’s overarching economic framework, on its fiscal strategy and on achieving value for money from its investments.

He has been responsible for the development of a new framework for economic and fiscal policy-making and is currently overseeing reforms of New Zealand’s three macroeconomic ‘pillars’ (monetary policy, financial stability and fiscal policy). He is a leader of the diversity and inclusion agenda in NZ’s public and private sectors.

Gabriel’s career was previously in the UK civil service where his responsibilities ranged from the leadership of large-scale, public-facing delivery organisations of up to 10,000 people (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs’ Debt Management & Banking Directorate) through to policy development on domestic and international issues. He was Chair of the world’s main tax rule-making body – the Committee on Fiscal Affairs – at the OECD in Paris and was also responsible for the UK’s Government Banking Service.

5. Appointment of a temporary Central Bank Governor

The nominee is not available to take up the position until 1st September 2019. However, the current Governor will be taking up his new role at the ECB Executive Board on 1 June 2019. Therefore, it will be necessary for the Central Bank Commission to appoint a temporary Acting Governor in the interim. Section 22(3) of the Central Bank Act 1942, as amended, provides that if the office of Governor becomes vacant, the Commission may appoint another member of the Commission to act as Governor to carry out the designated responsibilities of the Governor during the vacancy, for a period of no more than three months. This is a statutory responsibility of the Central Bank Commission, and the Minister does not have a role in that process.

ENDS

1 May, 2019