Leiderman drops BOI chief bid too

Economics professor appointed just two days ago to replace Staley Fischer as central bank governor, after Prof. Frenkel withdrew his candidacy decision, cites personal reasons for decision to quit race. Reports say move prompted by professional criticism, alleged sexual harassment complaint

Who will be the next Bank of Israel governor? That question seemed to have been answered two days ago, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid announced they had picked Prof. Leo Leiderman to fill the position following Prof. Yaakov Frenkel's decision to drop his candidacy.


Now it appears the race has reopened once again, after Leiderman informed Netanyahu and Lapid on Friday afternoon that he was withdrawing his nomination too.


The economics professor told the prime minister and finance minister that after holding intensive talks with his family members in the past two days, he came to the conclusion that he would rather continue his work at Tel Aviv University and Bank Hapoalim, where he serves as chief economists. He did not provide any further explanations for his decision.


The announcement came as a complete surprise. On Wednesday, Leiderman was asked by Netanyahu if there was anything which would prevent him from assuming the position of Bank of Israel governor, and said there wasn't. He was already scheduled to meet with the Turkel Committee on senior civil service appointments on Sunday. 


Possible explanations

Why did Leiderman give up on the position? The professor refused to elaborate or respond to Ynet's inquiry, but according to new information that the approval of his appointment may have been facing some difficulties.


Senior members of the Bank of Israel's Monetary Committee, which sets the central bank's key lending rate together with the governor, expressed their objection to the appointment. One of them, Prof. Rafi Melnick, even turned to the prime minister and argued that Leiderman was unsuitable for the role.


Leiderman may have chosen to withdraw his nomination after realizing he would have to deal with a monetary committee whose members do not fully support him.


Leiderman may have also been concerned that he would be putting his personal life in the spotlight by assuming the position.


Channel 10 News reported Thursday evening that Leiderman had consulted an astrologist in the past. Leiderman said in response that he had only done so on personal matters and not on any professional matters, but the incident may have affected his decision not to accept the position.


According to a report published Friday, Leiderman had resigned from Deutsche Bank in the past due to a complaint of alleged sexual harassment.


Frenkel drops candidacy, Flug quits

Leiderman was named central bank chief after Netanyahu's first choice, former Bank of Israel Governor Jacob Frenkel withdrew his candidacy after the Turkel Committee began looking into a 2006 incident in which Frenkel was held up at the Hong Kong airport in possession of a garment bag he had failed to pay for.


The race for the high-ranking position has now reopened, yet it is unclear who the leading candidates are at this time. Deputy Bank of Israel Governor Dr. Karnit Flug, who received former Governor Stanley Fischer's support during the race, announced Wednesday that she would resign after she was passed over for the position in favor of Leiderman.


Opposition Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich said following Leiderman's decision to drop his nomination, "Netanyahu and Lapid must now go to Dr. Karnit Flug's house, apologize to her and plead with her to accept the position of Bank of Israel governor.


"The collection of failed and odd decisions made by these two, all for the sake of not appointing the most suitable woman for the role, is beginning to look like one big farce. It's time for them to come to their senses and do the right thing," Yachimovich added.



פרסום ראשון: 08.02.13, 19:34
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