Honohan appointed as new Central Bank chief

The Government tonight appointed a new Central Bank governor, handpicked for the first time from outside the top ranks of the civil service.

Patrick Honohan, an international economics professor and expert on financial crises, will succeed John Hurley who steps down on September 25.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said Mr Holohan had a tough job ahead of him, overseeing a major regulatory shake-up of the country’s banking sector.

“This is a very difficult job and it’s been a very difficult job for the past year and John Hurley’s done outstanding work there,” Mr Lenihan said.

“I’ve no doubt that Patrick Honohan will be an outstanding governor of the Central Bank.”

Previous appointees to the post have been secretary generals at the Department of Finance.

Mr Honohan has been a professor of International Financial Economics and Development at Trinity College, Dublin since April 2007.

He previously served as a senior advisor at the World Bank and as economic advisor to former Fine Gael Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald during two terms in office.

He was also instrumental in designing an International Monetary Fund/World Bank programme working with developing countries.

He was employed in the public service in his earlier career and worked in the Economic and Social Research Institute contributing policy advice to the Government.

Mr Lenihan announced in March that he was not confining the hunt for a new governor to the ranks of the civil service.

The minister paid tribute to Mr Hurley and wished him well in his retirement.

He was due to leave his post in March but was asked to stay on to oversee sweeping reforms in the state’s financial regulation, announced in the April budget.

It included changes within the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator and the creation of a new institution, the Central Bank of Ireland Commission.

The Government said the new body would oversee individual firms and ensure the stability of the country’s financial system.

Mr Hurley was appointed Central Bank governor in 2002, having previously occupied top posts in the Departments of Finance and Health.

In his final annual report published last month he said the bank had warned about the risks faced by the economy by property lending, but accepted they failed to change attitudes.

Mr Honohan is a graduate of UCD and has a Ph.D in economics from the London School of Economics.

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