Michele Bullock named next RBA governor


Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced this morning Michele Bullock will take over as Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) governor from Philip Lowe in September.

Chalmers said the government is proud to announce the ninth governor, confirming the appointment will be effective September 18.

In making the announcement, Albanese acknowledged Lowe's seven-year service and thanked him for his tenure.

michele bullock named new rba governor

At the same time, he said Bullock is an accomplished economist with wide experience at the RBA, including her most recent role as deputy governor. In total, she has served close to 17 years with the central bank.

"I very much congratulate Michele Bullock on this appointment," he said.

"And I thank Jim for overseeing as Treasurer the process to ensure we got the right decision for Australia; I'm confident we've done just that."

Chalmers added that this is a history making appointment.

"Michele Bullock will become the first woman to ever lead the Reserve Bank in this country," he said.

He added that the new governor brings experience and expertise with a fresh leadership perspective.

In response to her appointment, Bullock said: "I am deeply honoured to have been appointed to this important position. It is a challenging time to be coming into this role, but I will be supported by a strong executive team and boards."

"I am committed to ensuring that the Reserve Bank delivers on its policy and operational objectives for the benefit of the Australian people."

Meanwhile, Lowe said he believes the Treasurer has made a "first-rate" appointment.

"I congratulate Michele on being appointed governor. The Reserve Bank is in very good hands as it deals with the current inflation challenge and implementing the recommendations of the review of the RBA. I wish Michele all the best," he said.

While Chalmers said it was the right call, he added that it was not an easy call to make. In making the decision, Lowe was on a shortlist of candidates, but he said it's not usual to reappoint the same governor.

"The last couple have, but there's been five of them (out of eight) that haven't been extended," he said.

"So for all the reasons I said before, it's not particularly unusual. I think once we realised we had the right candidate, there's no point extending governor Lowe if you've got the right candidate ready to go."

Bullock will be responsible for chairing the Reserve Bank Board, the Payments System Board and the Council of Financial Regulators. She will also be responsible for the management of the Bank under the Reserve Bank Act 1959.

The government will now look to fill the deputy governor spot and replace Bullock within the same time frame.

Chalmers said a decision should be reached by the middle of September.

"What you want at the bank is, in addition to experience and expertise and heft and gravitas, the right kind of leadership attributes," he commented.

"You want to make sure you've got the right combination of technical attributes as well. And that will feed into our decision but I don't want to artificially limit it now."

The RBA boss may have changed but the economic outlook is still treacherous as inflation continues to be balanced against rising interest rates.

Chalmers acknowledged Australians are still doing it tough.

"The government knows that Australians are under the pump right now, the primary focus of this government is the cost of living pressures that people confront," he said.

"We take responsibility for our part in easing the pressure on people providing cost of living help without making this inflation challenge worse."

This article first appeared on Financial Standard

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Cassandra Baldini was a senior journalist at Financial Standard from June 2022 to December 2023. Prior to this, she was a reporter at the Daily Telegraph's digital subsidiary News Local covering court, crime and community news. She held various roles at Bloomberg in the London newsroom, and worked at Vanguard and Sony. She has a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Macleay.