Position: Bank of Israel Governor
Incumbent: Stanley Fischer
Date of birth: Oct. 15, 1943
Term: Fischer has been central bank governor since May 1, 2005. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nominated him for a second five-year term on May 1, 2010.
— Zambian-born Fischer is a world renowned economist and has written or co-authored 15 books.
— At present, he alone decides on Israel’s interest rate policy each month after discussions and a non-binding vote by four central bank department heads. Since the start of his term, Fischer has spearheaded a drive to revamp the Bank of Israel law. The law has been ratified by parliament and shortly, monetary decisions will be made by a six-member board, with the governor as its head.
— Fischer is considered a hawk and prefers an annual inflation rate of around 2 percent. With Israeli inflation pressures rising, he was among the first central bankers to raise interest rates last year despite low rates in the United States and Europe.
— But he also was one of the first to respond to the global financial crisis by starting to sharply lower Israeli interest rates in late 2008.
— Fischer left his job as vice chairman of Citigroup and president of Citigroup International in 2005 to replace David Klein, who was not offered a second term. He has a warm relationship with Netanyahu but has clashed with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on a number of issues.
— Fischer has been a key supporter of the Finance Ministry’s tight budget policies.
— Prior to his post at Citigroup, Fischer served as first deputy managing director of the International Fund from 1994 to 2001. Before that, he was head of the economics department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s thesis adviser. (Reporting by Steven Scheer)