First he told them they were playing all wrong, then he took away their ball — Bank of England governor and Canadian transplant Mark Carney outraged Britain’s financial elite yet again today by cancelling the institution’s annual cricket match.
Sport—not sports, this is England, after all—isn’t being taken off the schedule altogether; the Bank’s summer staff party will feature obstacle races, football and rounders instead, which are presumably more egalitarian than ‘elitist’ cricket.
But times have been a little tougher for Carney since his move across the pond. No sooner had he made the switch than his hefty compensation package came under fire. And a report earlier this year suggested his hands-off attitude in the aftermath of the recession led to a serious overvaluation of the loonie.
The Bank of England is 320 years old, and institutions with that much tradition don’t turn on a dime (or a five-penny piece, as the case may be). Carney faced a daunting task:
In addition to pulling the levers of British monetary policy, Carney will have to remake the Bank of England’s ossified culture. Three independent reports were commissioned last year into the Bank of England’s operations. The conclusions were much the same: the bank was too hierarchical, and junior staffers felt compelled to tell superiors what they wanted to hear, stifling change.
At the time of his move, Don Sutton predicted that Carney was in for some rough treatment from the press:
And then there’s Fleet Street. While Carney is a media darling now, the prying and catty British media will take some adjustment. The closest he has gotten to a scandal in Canada was being a guest at Scott Brison’s cottage. Already, the U.K. press has pounced on his wife’s tweet about the availability of a decent home in the city—in reference to French tax exiles leaving, and perhaps easing, the sky-high housing costs in London.
The Bank of England has taken a cautious regulatory approach, refusing to raise interest rates despite signs that the economy is emerging from its post-recession doldrums. Carney’s decision to weigh in on the impending Scottish independence referendum also met with backlash.
Carney will probably blame cultural differences for this latest misstep. Look for the Bank of England to announce an annual game of shinny in the near future. At least that way the governor might see the big hits coming.