Blogs & Comment

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz: Who likes him? Who doesn't?

Overall positive but some concerned over bank's independence.

On Thursday,  Stephen Poloz was named the new governor of the Bank of Canada. The appointment surprised many; the early favourite was the bank’s second-in-command Tiff Macklem.

So far the reaction to the hiring of Poloz, the former head of Export Development Canada, runs the spectrum from excitement and enthusiasm, to caution and skepticism. Here’s a summary of the reaction so far:

FANS

Scotiabank vice chairman and chief operating officer Sabi Marwah“Stephen Poloz brings years of experience to this role having worked in the export sector and with extensive knowledge of the global economy and markets. His understanding of Canada’s opportunities in the global economy will give him valuable insights in this new role. We look forward to working with him in his new role as Governor.” (National Post)

C.D. Howe Institute vice-president of research Finn Poschmann: “An interesting choice but not a shock to the system.” (National Post)

BMO Financial Group president/CEO Bill Downe: “Stephen Poloz is an outstanding public servant with a wealth of experience and a steady hand that will serve the Bank of Canada and Canadians well. With his experience at Export Development Canada and the Bank of Canada, he brings a powerful combination of talents, deep knowledge and experience to the role. His efforts to help Canadian business pursue growth outside our borders have been commendable. At a time of uncertainty, this is an important dimension that he brings to the helm of one of the world’s most respected central banks.” (BMO)

Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters president/CEO Jayson Myers: “He is an excellent communicator, and I think that’s a very large part of the job. He’s a good economist and that’s important, but the main job here is to maintain confidence among the investor community. Communication is a huge part of that… Economic theory is nothing without grounding in the reality of business and the reality of finance. It’s extremely important for Steve to continue to consult with businesses.” (Toronto Star)

Canadian Auto Workers Union economist Jim Stanford: “There is something to be said for hiring an outsider. In this era, monetary policy needs some of out of the box thinking… Hopefully, Mr. Poloz brings the same willingness to innovate to the job, because we need it.” (Toronto Star)

SKEPTICS

National Post columnist John Ivison: “It was likely Mr. Poloz’s indication that he was happy to accommodate the government’s agenda that won him the job.” (National Post)

Rotman School of Management professor of international business Walid Hejazi: “It may change peoples’ perception of the independence of the bank.” (Globe and Mail)

Queen’s University economics professor Thorsten Koeppl: “Tiff [Macklem] has an outstanding international recognition through his work within the G20 as the deputy minister of finance – Poloz cannot match that in my opinion. Jim Flaherty has some explaining to do for why Tiff was not chosen — otherwise red flags will go up about the independence of the Bank of Canada.” (Globe and Mail)

C.D. Howe Institute president William Robson: “Modern spin and the tradition of central bank independence don’t sit well together. The scrutiny is going to be more intense because the natural candidate was so strong and the minister made himself so visible in the process.” (Globe and Mail)

National Post columnist Andrew Coyne: