Bank of England Governor- Figurehead or Chief Executive?

Current Governor: Andrew Bailey

The Governor of the Bank of England is a pretty old role. It has been around since the bank was founded way back when.

The first Governor Sir John Houblon was appointed in the year 1694 during the reign of King William III and Queen Mary II!

It’s worth remembering that initially, the Bank of England was a private institution.

It was founded to help fund the Government with the Monarchy being the main shareholders.

(It was always though regulated by government rules and regulations.)

In 1946, the Bank was formally nationalised and bought under Government control by the post-war Attlee government.

Despite having the more symbolic title of Governor, the role is actually much more akin to a Company CEO than a political or symbolic role. They are appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Prime Minister.

According to the Bank of England website :

The governors [the governor and his deputies] serve as the Bank’s top level executive team, and are responsible, in conjunction with the Bank’s policy committees, for overseeing the fulfilment of the Bank’s mission.

In their role, the Governor oversees the main policy areas and chairs key decision making policy committees.

Many people have commented that the Governor in fact could be too powerful. The role is a hefty one, hence the nearly half a million pound annual salary!

As well as formal policy roles, the Governor also has a lot of ‘soft power.’ The pound has been known to rise and fall on the basis of their words.

The current Governor is Mark Bailey, former CEO of the Financial Conduct Authority. His term is 16 March 2020 to 15 March 2028.

(Note- Andrew Bailey image copyright: Uk Government, OGL3 via WikiCommons)

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