British prime minister Gordon Brown's economic woes deepened today after it emerged that the Bank of England's second-in-command was stepping down.
Highly-regarded deputy governor Rachel Lomax will be leaving when her five-year term comes to an end next month.
The Independent on Sunday newspaper said that Brown had tried to persuade the 62-year-old to stay on as the Bank struggles to cope with fall-out from the global credit crunch.
However, she is said to have had enough of "watching monthly base rates" and wanted to explore new ventures in business.
Ms Lomax has responsibility for monetary policy and sits on the influential Monetary Policy Committee, which sets interest rates.
A spokesman for the Treasury confirmed that the search for a replacement had begun, but a shortlist has yet to be drawn up.
The deputy governor role is a Crown appointment, made on the advice of Brown. The Bank's governor Mervyn King and British Chancellor Alistair Darling will be consulted on the choice of her successor.
In a speech in February Ms Lomax said the extent of the impact of the turmoil in financial markets on the UK was "highly uncertain" and warned the "largest ever peace-time liquidity crisis" was taking its toll.