Bloomberg News

Fischer Successor to Be Named by End-June, Israeli Official Says

June 20, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will appoint a successor to Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer before he leaves office June 30, an official in the premier’s office said, amid reports he is casting abroad for a candidate.

Netanyahu doesn’t have concerns about the transition process because the leadership at the bank is strong and professional, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the confidential selection process.

Deputy Governor Karnit Flug is being seriously considered, as are other candidates, he said.

Then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stunned Israel eight years ago when he announced he had persuaded Fischer, a former No. 2 official at the International Monetary Fund, to become Israel’s central bank governor. Israeli newspapers say Netanyahu is looking again for an internationally known economist to fill the job. Names that have been floated include Ben S. Bernanke, Martin Eichenbaum, Elhanan Helpman and Laurence Meyer.

Under Israeli law, Flug, Fischer’s hand-picked deputy, will become acting governor upon his departure, unless Netanyahu installs a replacement by then.

Fischer’s own appointment involved such a move. In 2005, deputy governor Meir Sokoler led the central bank temporarily while a screening committee reviewed Fischer’s candidacy.

“It’s possible he may go for a temporary or acting appointment,” said Yaniv Pagot, chief strategist at Ramat Gan, Israel-based Ayalon Group Ltd. “If he finds someone else afterward, then he can make the switch, and if not, he can then make the appointment permanent. Unless he surprises everyone and manages at the last minute to find a star.”

Fischer announced in January that he would step down mid-term.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alisa Odenheimer in Jerusalem at aodenheimer@bloomberg.net; Gwen Ackerman in Jerusalem at gackerman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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