TCD economist Philip Lane named Central Bank governor

Professor Lane holds a PhD in economics from Harvard and is Whately chair of political economics in College

NEWSEconomist Philip Lane has been appointed as the next governor of the Central Bank it was announced today. In recent days the contest was seen as being between 46 year-old professor Lane and Robert Watt, secretary general at the department of public expenditure. Lane will succeed outgoing governor Patrick Honohan, whose tenure was marked by the financial crisis and in recent years the effort to establish causation by Oireachtas committees.

Lane’s background in academia is something he holds in common with his predecessor, and Noonan’s selection of an outsider rather than reverting to the norm of hiring from the civil service will be met with interest by many quarters.

Lane’s appointment was ratified at a meeting of cabinet today, following on from his recommendation by minister for finance Michael Noonan. The selection process for governor followed was the first open process for the Central Bank governorship. Commenting on the purpose of having an open selection process, Michael Noonan said that it was done due to “the unique importance of the position of governor of the Central Bank to the Irish financial system and the Irish economy.”

Speaking on the announcement Noonan extended his congratulations to Lane. “Professor Lane’s outstanding economic, financial and policy making record ideally position him to lead the Central Bank in the coming years.”

Lane is Whately professor of political economy in College and is an ex-officio member of the general board and steering committee of the European Systemic Risk Board.

Upon entering Trinity in 1987 he was awarded the entrance exhibition prize. His academic success continued as upon graduating in 1991 with a first, he was also the top-ranked economics student that year.

During his time in College he was editor of the Student Economic Review for its fourth edition in 1990, for which he wrote two pieces “The Development of Econometrics” and “Credibility & Stabilisation Policies in Ireland in the 1980’s”.

He received his PhD in Economics from Harvard in 1995 and prior to his position at Trinity he was assistant professor of economics and international affairs at Columbia University from 1995 to 1997.

Speaking to Trinity News, a student who worked with Lane said that “what impressed me the most was how he cuts to the core of an issue with just two or three simple questions. He thoroughly deserves his fame and the new position.”

Lane’s research interests include financial globalisation, macroeconomics of exchange rates and capital flows, macroeconomic policy design and European monetary integration.

His website lists areas he has consulted in including for the IMF, World Bank, European Commission, the ECB and other central banks and policy organisations.

“Professor Lane was chosen as the Government’s nomination to the position of Governor following an extensive national and international executive search process to identify suitably qualified candidates in Ireland and abroad”, Noonan said. “Over one hundred potential candidates were identified from around the world, with a wide-ranging and rigorous selection process resulting in the nomination of professor Lane.”

Noonan paid tribute to outgoing governor Patrick Honohan, saying “he has played a key role in stabilising our economy and in our move back towards prosperity and has also overseen significant reform in the Central Bank during this period. On behalf of the Government I sincerely thank him for his contribution and wish him every success in the future.”

Following today’s government meeting, president Michael D. Higgins will be advised to appoint professor Lane to the governor position.

Matthew Mulligan

Matthew is Editor for the 62nd volume of Trinity News. He is a Sociology and Social Policy graduate and was previously Deputy Editor of tn2 Magazine.