(Australian Associated Press)
A new Reserve Bank governor will likely be appointed sooner than expected if there’s an early election, an economist says.
Glenn Stevens is due to retire as RBA governor on September 17.
But if Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull calls a double dissolution election for July 2, the government could announce Mr Stevens’ successor well ahead of the poll.
“We would expect an announcement on the new RBA governor to be made before an election is called,” JP Morgan economist Sally Auld says.
“Presumably, the treasurer would not want to risk an unfavourable election outcome thwarting his ability to appoint Stevens’s replacement.”
She said RBA deputy governor Philip Lowe was the most likely candidate to succeed Mr Stevens.
Mr Stevens has been in the upper echelons of the Reserve Bank for 20 of the 25 years of Australia’s remarkable unbroken economic expansion.
He was appointed assistant governor for economics in 1996, deputy governor in 2001 and was awarded the top job for an initial seven years in 2006 by former treasurer Peter Costello.
He was reappointed by the Labor government for a further three years in April 2013, five months before voters went to the polls.
Treasurer Scott Morrison labelled the RBA boss as the “rock star of central bankers” last year.
When asked in a House of Representatives economics committee in February what qualities his replacement should have, Mr Stevens replied: “A thick skin is probably the primary one, actually.”