Abigail with attitude: Mark Carney – the new Bob Diamond?


Abigail Hofman
Published on:

A seasoned source told me a few months ago that Diamond’s tenure was abruptly terminated because "He was foreign! In this new era of heightened public scrutiny and domineering regulators," the source sighed, "your cultural values and background have to be aligned with those of the national authorities. If your face doesn’t fit and there’s a setback, you are out. It happened to Bob and it happened to Vikram Pandit at Citi. Anshu Jain, over at Deutsche, needs to watch out."

I found the source’s reasoning interesting, but not convincing. However, I did prick up my ears when another source told me that Mark Carney, the new governor of the Bank of England, could be "the next Bob Diamond". When pressed, the source explained that there were similarities between the big C and the big D.

"Both are charismatic north Americans who have to deal with the British establishment. Carney’s pay package and rock ’n’ roll star personality (admittedly in the grey world of central bankers) will certainly have put noses out of joint. Carney will have to tread carefully."

Readers might recall that Carney’s pay package dwarfs that of his predecessor, the finger-wagging Mervyn King. Carney’s £875,000 compensation encompasses a basic salary of £480,000, a hefty pension contribution and an extraordinary £250,000 annual housing allowance. Yet the UK is meant to be enduring an era of austerity and public-sector pay restraint. Surely the governor of the Bank of England should be leading the charge and setting an example for the rest of us? Carney is obviously very capable. I will be interested to see how the UK economy fares under his tenure.