July 18, 2019 / 10:17 AM / a month ago

Bank of England's Carney appears out of race for IMF top job

CHANTILLY, France (Reuters) - The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, is unlikely to succeed Christine Lagarde as the boss of the International Monetary Fund, European officials said on Thursday, as the European Union was considering four other names for the job.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney attends a conference entitled "Bretton Woods: 75 years later" in Paris, France, July 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Lagarde resigned as IMF managing director this week after EU leaders picked her to become the new governor of the European Central Bank at the start of July.

The top IMF job historically has been filled by a European, and officials on the sidelines of a G7 finance ministers and central banker governors meeting said Carney, who holds Canadian, British and Irish passports, was not considered European enough.

“He has the wrong passport, though otherwise everyone would love him,” one official said, echoing the views of three others.

A senior French official said earlier this month that President Emmanuel Macron wanted a “continental European” for the job, effectively ruling out Carney.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has agreed to lead consultations among European countries to find a candidate by the end of the month.

“The idea is to reach a credible and solid consensus on a European candidate that will allow Europe to continue to run the IMF,” Le Maire told reporters after chairing the meeting with his G7 counterparts in Chantilly, north of Paris.

A French source said that Le Maire did not have a preferred candidate and would play the coordination role impartially.

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said he had no insight into which candidates European countries would choose, but said Carney was an expert in international finance.

“They’ll be seeking someone who not only has a certain passport but also has the ability to deal with future challenges. We all want to be in a place where if there’s an economic challenge that we have people around the table who have the experience and expertise to help us to chart out a path,” Morneau said.

“From a Canadian standpoint, we want someone at the IMF who has a deep understanding of the international financial system, who has the personal attributes that would enable them to be effective in negotiating agreements with countries in challenging times,” he said.

European Union countries are discussing the candidacies of Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch former head of euro zone finance ministers; Nadia Calvino, the Spanish economy minister; Mario Centeno, the Portuguese chairman of euro zone finance ministers; and Olli Rehn, the Finnish central bank governor.

Additional reporting by Myriam Rivet, Francesco Canepa, Michael Nienaber, David Lawder and Leigh Thomas; reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Larry King

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