High-flying financier Dame Helena Morrissey, 53, has been interviewed to take over from Canadian Mark Carney when he leaves the role in January
A mother of nine known as the ‘City Superwoman’ is in the running to become the first female Governor of the Bank of England in its 325-year history, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
High-flying financier Dame Helena Morrissey, 53, has been interviewed to take over from Canadian Mark Carney when he leaves the role in January.
A fund management executive, Dame Helena is thought to be one of about nine candidates being considered for the position, one of the most high-profile public service jobs in the country.
She lives in Notting Hill, West London, with her husband Richard, a Buddhist monk. Their children are aged from ten to 27, and include acclaimed singer-songwriter Flo, 24.
Dame Helena has said that having so many children has helped her in her professional life, as she has come to accept ‘a certain degree of chaos… you learn that you can’t sweat the small stuff.
‘People think I must be incredibly well-organised, but sometimes you just have to let it go.’
And she has spoken of her aim to get a good work-life balance, saying: ‘I would love to have a radical shake-up in the idea that you have to work every hour you are given to be successful at your job… Long hours are not good for anybody and not good for risk management.’
The comprehensive-educated Cambridge graduate is also a high-profile campaigner to get more women at the top of businesses.
In 2010 she founded the 30% Club to get more women into the boardrooms of FTSE 100 companies, and helped raise the proportion of directors from 12.5 to 32.6 per cent.
Dame Helena (above with husband Richard and her children) has said that having so many children has helped her in her professional life, as she has come to accept ‘a certain degree of chaos… you learn that you can’t sweat the small stuff’
She is also a Brexiteer, which would mark a change of tone from Carney, who has long been accused of advancing Remainers’ ‘Project Fear’ with his gloomy forecasts.
Outspoken Brexiteer Gerard Lyons, 58, who was an adviser to Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London, is also understood to have been interviewed for the role.
It has been reported that he failed to make the shortlist, but sources familiar with the process told this newspaper that no formal list has been drawn up and that, in any case, Chancellor Sajid Javid and the Prime Minister would have discretion to ignore the suggestions.
Dame Helena spent 15 years as chief executive of Newton Investment Management, which controlled £50 billion of investments.
She is now head of personal investing for Legal and General Investment Management, one of Europe’s largest fund management groups. She declined to comment last night.
The possibility that she could be the 121st Governor of the Bank –which plays a crucial role in the economy by setting interest rates and regulating lenders – comes shortly after Sir John Kingman, the chairman of her employer, Legal and General, ruled himself out of the race.
Fears emerged last week that the appointment process may have to be delayed if a General Election is called in the coming months.
Dame Helena is also a Brexiteer, which would mark a change of tone from Mark Carney, above, who has long been accused of advancing Remainers’ ‘Project Fear’ with his gloomy forecasts
However, a source said they were confident a successor to Mr Carney would be found in time to replace him in January.
Until today, Dame Helena’s candidacy had remained a secret. Other possible frontrunners include Andrew Bailey, the boss of the Financial Conduct Authority watchdog, Santander UK chairman Baroness Vadera and Dame Minouche Shafik, head of the London School of Economics. None have confirmed their interest.
Sir Jon Cunliffe and Ben Broadbent, currently deputy governors at the Bank, are also thought to be in the running. While other figures who have been linked to the role include former Bank of India boss Raghuram Rajan and Kevin Warsh of America’s Federal Reserve.
One City source last night speculated that George Osborne – the former Chancellor who now edits London’s Evening Standard newspaper – could even be an outside bet after he missed out on the chance to lead the Washington-based International Monetary Fund.