RegSol Blog


New Governor of the CBI Appointed

May 2019


On 1st May the Government signed off on the appointment of Gabriel Makhlouf, chief economic and financial adviser to the New Zealand Government, to the position of Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland.

The vacancy arises as a result of Philip Lane’s imminent departure to the European Central Bank in June to take up his position as Chief Economist at Frankfurt.
Mr. Makhlouf has previously worked in the UK dealing with policy development around domestic and international tax and welfare. He was also chair of the Committee on Fiscal Affairs (the world’s main tax rule-making body) at the OECD. He is a current leader of the diversity and inclusion agenda in New Zealand’s public and private sectors.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohue commented on the announcement that "I am delighted to nominate a person of Gabriel Makhlouf’s international calibre for appointment as Governor of our Central Bank."
His appointment has come as a shock to many, not only because he is coming from New Zealand but because many feel there were more obvious candidates closer to home. One example highlighted was Sharon Donnery, a current Deputy Governor within the CBI with a wealth of experience. Given the CBI’s significant focus on diversity and inclusion, if appointed Ms. Donnery would have been the first female head of the Bank.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was specifically questioned on this and the general surprise around the appointment but he asserted that the logic was simple – choose the best candidate. He said "it wasn’t restricted to Ireland, it wasn’t restricted to any one gender or anyone who was or was not currently working in the Central Bank so it was done really the way top jobs should be filled.
"There was an open international advertisement, people submitted their CVs, there was a shortlist. There were interviews, and the interview panel recommended one name to Government and that name was accepted by Government."
Mr. Makhlouf is expected to take up the position in September.