Mark Carney profile: ‘Central bankers aren’t often young, good-looking and charming – he is all three’

New Bank of England governor Mark Carney. Picture: AP
New Bank of England governor Mark Carney. Picture: AP
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Mark Carney took up his role as the governor of the Bank of Canada at the height of the financial crisis.

The 47-year-old’s actions in his current role have been hailed as playing a major part in helping Canada to avoid the worst impacts of the economic downturn.

The Canadian economy outperformed those of its peers during the crisis, and Canada was the first G7 nation to have both its GDP and employment recover to pre-crisis levels.

But addressing a press conference in both English and French, the Canadian-born banker said he was “not without ties to the UK”, having worked in the country for a decade and married a British woman.

His conduct in office prompted Time magazine in 2010 to name him as one of the world’s most influential people, adding: “Central bankers aren’t often young, good-looking and charming, but Mark Carney is all three – not to mention wicked smart.”

Among his key decisions were moves to provide substantial levels of cash to the Canadian financial system, as well as committing to keep interest rates at their lowest possible level for one year.

But it is Mr Carney’s earlier career that may raise some eyebrows, as the Harvard and Oxford graduate spent 13 years between 1990 and 2003 at investment bank Goldman Sachs.

The firm – now synonymous with excessive pay and high-risk banking – took US$10 billion (£6.2bn) from the US Treasury at the height of the financial crisis.

However, his experience in financial markets was widely viewed as an asset in navigating the credit crisis.

After working in the investment bank’s London, Tokyo, New York and Toronto offices, Mr Carney was appointed deputy governor of the Bank of Canada.

The central banker has faced occasional criticism at home for overly optimistic forecasts.

He is also known for bringing in fresh – and relatively young – faces to fill almost all the top policy-making positions at the Canadian central bank.

Mr Carney, born in Canada’s Northwest Territories, has four daughters with his wife, Diana, an economist.