Mark Carney, Canada's banking rock star
Josh Visser, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Saturday, November 5, 2011 4:48PM EDT
Depending on how you look at it, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney arrived in his position with the best, or worst, possible timing.
When Carney officially took over the position as Canada's central banker from David Dodge in February 2008, few were predicting the economic meltdown ahead. That's bad timing.
However, he was also a central banker presiding over a country with a stable financial system, one that would not require a single bank bailout during the Great Recession.
And he proved to be the right man for the job at the right time.
Carney helped spearhead the global response to the crisis, aggressively cutting interest rates at home, tightening regulations and displaying a guru's eye on how the markets work.
And that got the world's attention. In 2010, he was ranked the 21st most influential person in the world by Time magazine.
The magazine quipped: "Central bankers aren't often young, good-looking and charming, but Mark Carney is all three -- not to mention wicked smart."
His recent closed-doors dust-up with Jamie Dimon, the head of JPMorgan Chase, only further cemented his reputation as a tough regulator willing to go toe-to-toe with big business. He's a rock star in the central banking world, a rare breed.
Only 46-years old, it's not surprising then that Carney's career is still on the rise. While he didn't get the presidency of the International Monetary Fund (for which he was shortlisted), Carney was named the new head of the G-20's prestigious Financial Stability Board (FSB) on Friday.
No Canadian has ever held such a senior financial role on the world stage. While the FSB is a relatively new institution, it is set to take on new importance as it works to improve banking regulation and oversight.
"The choice of Gov. Carney reflects the strength of the Canadian financial system," Craig Alexander, the chief economist for TD Bank, told CTV News Channel Friday.
"Gov. Carney is an outstanding candidate and it is a part-time position, so he can do it in addition to being governor of the bank of Canada," he said. "When you look at his background, it suggest he's an ideal candidate . . . he understands economic and financial linkages, he had 13 years as an investment banker.
"It gives him good sound perspective on what regulatory environment makes sense. He will do an outstanding job."
So, how did Carney rise to top the global economic heap?
Carney was born in the Northwest Territories where his father was a high school principal. At the age of six, his family moved to Edmonton, when his dad became a professor at the University of Alberta.
Clearly there was something in the Carney gene pool for big brains, because Carney and his two brothers all managed to go to Harvard.
He received a bachelor's degree there (where he was the backup goalie on the hockey team) and later, a master's and a PhD in economics from Oxford University.
Carney's career started with Goldman Sachs in the late "Greed is Good" 1980s, where he worked in the U.K., Japan and New York offices before settling down in Toronto.
But the much less-glamorous (and financially-beneficial) world of public service appealed to Carney and in 2003, he made the move to the Bank of Canada.
According to the Globe and Mail, Dodge knew right away that Mark Carney was going to be the man to replace him when he was hired as a deputy governor in 2003.
He then had a three-year stint in the Department of Finance from 2004 to 2007 before being named as Dodge's successor, and returning to the Bank of Canada.
In his personal life, Carney is married to another economist, Diana, whom he met at Oxford. They have four daughters and live in Ottawa.
Carney is also known as a big AC/DC fan, but as of press time, CTVNews.ca has been unable to confirm if he's a Bon Scott or Brian Johnson guy.