Martin Flanagan: BoE deputy’s resignation sad but right

Martin Flanagan says Charlotte Hogg's resignation came 'swiftly and with dignity'. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
Martin Flanagan says Charlotte Hogg's resignation came 'swiftly and with dignity'. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
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Quite frequently in public life, gaffes mean you have to resign as much for being a fool as a knave. Such is the case with the resignation of the new deputy governor of the Bank of England (BoE), Charlotte Hogg.

There was an unacknowledged conflict of interest – not telling MPs that her brother Quintin was group strategy director at Barclays bank, which the Bank of England regulates. Ironically, Hogg helped write the Bank’s code in that area, which largely took the biscuit for the MPs who decided her fate.

While many public figures have to be prised out, Hogg retreated swiftly and with dignity

• READ MORE: Charlotte Hogg resigns as BoE deputy governor

Hogg joined the BoE in 2013 as chief operating officer. But she only disclosed her brother’s role when she prepared information for MPs last month who were reviewing her recent appointment.

A report by the Treasury select committee, chaired by Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie, said Hogg had not deliberately misled it. It was more a case of her having a monumental blind spot on the correct course of action given the situation, raising big questions about Hogg’s professional competence and judgment to be BoE governor Mark Carney’s deputy.

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It will have embarrassed Carney, given the implications of some residual complacency at Threadneedle Street. Separately, early in his stewardship he signalled that the Bank should employ more women in senior roles.

The validity of that view is unimpaired by an individual’s mistake, and Carney says he has deep regrets Hogg has resigned.

Tyrie summed up the other viewpoint, however, saying: “This is a regrettable business with no winners. Ms Hogg has acted in the best interest of the institution for which she has been working. This is welcome.”

Hogg said she had not shared confidential information or misused it in any way, but said in a letter to the BoE authorities: “I recognise that being sorry is not enough”.

It is succinct and painful self-acknowledgement of coming up short. While many public figures have to be almost prised out after indiscretions, Hogg has retreated swiftly and with dignity.

That her position would have been untenable if she had tried to tough it out does not detract from a resignation that was notably more surefooted than her tenure.

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