The Australian government has appointed Michele Bullock as Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, effective immediately. It is the first time in the central bank's history that a woman has been named to the position of second-in-command, and puts her in the running to eventually take the top leadership role.
Bullock's appointment comes less than a month after her predecessor Guy Debelle resigned to join green energy company Fortescue Future Industries - he announced his departure on 10 March and was gone a week later. Leadership roles at RBA are internal appointments, with candidates typically moving up the ranks from Assistant Governor to Deputy Governor to Governor, as was the case with current Governor Philip Lowe. When Debelle left, observers almost immediately identified Bullock as the most likely internal replacement, given her experience and long tenure at the bank.
She joined RBA in 1985, straight out of university, and has spent her entire career with the bank: moving up through its Economic Group, International Department, Policy Department, and Currency Group before being appointed Assistant Governor (Currency) in 2010, then Assistant Governor (Business Services) in 2015, and Assistant Governor (Financial System) in 2016. RBA has five Assistant Governor roles in total.
Lowe said in the announcement of her appointment: "Michele brings a wealth of experience to the position. She has played a leading role in the Bank's work on financial stability and has a well-deserved international reputation for her work on payments systems. Michele also brings considerable management experience to the role and I look forward to working with her."
The term of Deputy Governor lasts five years. Lowe's own seven-year term ends in 2023, and he has previously said he is willing to serve a second term if offered the opportunity.