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Mark Carney, The 'George Clooney Of Banking', Set To Take Over At The Bank Of England

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MARK CARNEY
Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, right, pauses to speak at a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Monday Nov. 26, 2012. Carney will become head of the Bank of England next summer. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Fred Chartrand) | AP

New Bank of England governor Mark Carney will become one of the most powerful central bankers in the world on Monday when he takes the reins at a crucial time for the economy.

The Canadian arrives amid mounting expectation of a change in monetary policy as the Bank looks to keep the UK recovery on track.

Hailed as the "outstanding central banker of his generation", Carney arrives from the Bank of Canada, where he is credited with helping the Canadian economy recover faster from the downturn than any other developed major nation.

He takes office amid mounting signs of recovery in the economy but recent official figures revealed how far the UK has to go before returning to its pre-crisis conditions.

Widespread revisions by the Office for National Statistics meant that the double dip recession at the end of 2011 and first half of 2012 was erased from history.

However, revised data revealed the initial recession following the financial crisis was far worse than first feared, which means the economy is now even further behind its pre-crisis level.

GDP is now 3.9% lower than its peak in the first quarter of 2008 - previously it was estimated to be 2.6% below.

One of Carney's first tasks will be to chair the Monetary Policy Committee's monthly meeting as it gathers on Wednesday and Thursday to decide on interest rates.

While economists are not expecting any action in July, many believe the Bank will move to cement the recovery over the next few months.

Vicky Redwood, at consultancy Capital Economics, said: "Bold action by the new governor would help to cement any recovery, but he cannot afford to be timid."

Carney will be the first non-British citizen to govern the Bank of England in its 319-year history when he takes the helm.

Hand-picked by Chancellor George Osborne to head the Old Lady, the 48-year-old will lead an institution now
responsible for financial stability and keeping Britain's banks on an even keel - as well as its main task of monetary policy.

Carney, who will receive an £874,000 pay package - including a £5,000-a-week housing allowance - inherits a venerable institution which has expanded rapidly in recent years.

The Bank's workforce has almost doubled to 3,500 from about 1,800 in 2008.

He has already started shaking up the Bank, recently appointing a senior female banker to the new role of chief operating officer to help ''catalyse change''.

The ice hockey fan, born in Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories of Canada, describes himself as someone who knows "how to lead, when to delegate and how to forge consensus".

He studied at Harvard and Oxford universities, and had a 13-year career with Goldman Sachs before becoming deputy governor of Canada's central bank in 2003.

In 2008 he stepped up to governor, just as the financial crisis was erupting.

Whether Mr Carney - variously described as a "rock star" and the George Clooney of central banking - can sweep away the doubts of fellow policymakers remains to be seen.