The Bank of England’s Top Woman Is Leaving Her Job Early

Key Speakers At The Bank Of England Open Forum
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dame Minouche Shafik, the most senior woman at the Bank of England, is to step down from her job two years early, the Bank said in a statement Monday.

Shafik had joined the Bank from the International Monetary Fund on a five-year contract as deputy governor responsible for markets and banking in 2014. Her job consisted largely of dealing with the after effects of scandals around the rigging of benchmark interest rates and foreign exchange prices.

But she will leave at the end of February 2017 and take up a new position as director of the London School of Economics in September, becoming the first woman to take that position. The LSE position, which The Daily Telegraph‘s sources said was her “dream job”, will likely come with a modest pay raise: the current director, Craig Calhoun, pulls down around 381,000 pounds a year, including pension benefits, while Shafik was paid a total of 340,000 pounds in the last fiscal year.

However, it aggravates the perennial shortage of women in the upper echelons of the BoE, a perennial bastion of male dominance: Shafik is one of only two women on the BoE’s policy-setting Monetary Policy Council, and one of only three female members of the 12-person Court of Directors, the Bank’s top body.

In the statement, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said: “We will say farewell to Minouche with gratitude and regret.”

However, the Financial Times cited officials as saying privately that the two had had a “tense” relationship. Some speculated that the relationship may have come under particular stress in the last couple of weeks: the Bank’s recently resumed bond purchases for the first time in years in order to suppress volatility in the capital markets after the U.K.’s shock decision to leave the EU.

But its first bond purchasing operation after that decision, carried out by Shafik’s division, fell short of its intended target, sparking widespread talk that the Bank’s policy was losing its effectiveness.

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