Data released by the Treasury reveal that only two women applied for the post of the next governor of the Bank of England, even though the department hired a specialist headhunting firm in a bid to diversify candidates. The stats reveal men accounted for 21 of the 23 applicants hoping to take over the job previously held by Mark Carney and now Andrew Bailey. It is known that both women made the shortlist, alongside seven male candidates.
Headhunting firm Sapphire Partners, that specialises in diversity and placing women in top roles was reportedly paid £90,000 to conduct the search. While the bill is footed by the Bank, the Treasury appointed the firm and was in charge of the final selection, which was delayed because of the general election and the announcement by Chancellor Sajid Javid. The Treasury’s selection panel was made up of three men and one woman.
With Carney's exit, the department had the chance to appoint the Bank's first female governor in its 325 year old history. In a letter sent to the Treasury committee in December, Javid said Bailey is “highly qualified” and “has strong experience in central banking and regulation with a strong international profile.” He added, “I believe that his knowledge and skills will be extremely valuable at the Bank of England in the coming years.”
Santander's UK chair Shriti Vadera, and former deputy Bank of England governor Minouche Shafik were both reported as the apt candidates for the job. The Treasury has long faced criticism over a lack of diversity across the BoE's higher positions. A Treasury spokesman said, “Our aim was always to appoint the best possible candidate, which is what we have done. And it was right to take steps to run as open a recruitment process as possible. We will continue to support that agenda in the future.”