Leo Leiderman 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid nominated Bank
Hapoalim chief economist Leo Leiderman for the post of Bank of Israel governor
on Wednesday, just two days after Jacob Frenkel withdrew his
If approved, Leiderman will replace Stanley Fischer, who
stepped down from the post at the end of June.
“I am excited to return to
the Bank of Israel,” the Argentine-born Leiderman said in a statement thanking
Lapid and Netanyahu for their confidence. “I will work to help the Israeli
economy meet the challenges that it faces.”
Leiderman previously served
as a senior adviser and head of the research department at the Bank of Israel
The University of Chicago- educated economist, who
completed his undergraduate degree at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem after
moving to Israel at age 17, was also a professor at Tel Aviv University and a
director of emerging markets research at Deutsche Bank.
Karnit Flug, who is currently acting governor and who some speculated would be
in the running for the nomination, announced that she would leave the bank a
month after the next governor transitioned into the position.
served at the bank for 25 years.
Knesset Finance Committee chairman
Nissan Slomiansky welcomed Leiderman’s nomination and wished him a speedy – and
smooth – confirmation process.
Frenkel, who served as governor from 1991
to 2000, withdrew his candidacy to return for a third term after a scandal over
alleged shoplifting in a Hong Kong airport in 2006 emerged.
drew immense public scrutiny, despite Frenkel’s protestations that the incident
was a misunderstanding and that there had been no charges filed.
Leiderman served at the Bank of Israel under Frenkel, who was seen as an
inflation hawk, his economic approach is considered more aligned with that of
Fischer, who put greater weight on issues such as poverty and income
“This is an excellent appointment of an economist with great
experience in general and at the Bank of Israel in particular, perhaps the best
possible appointment these days,” said Nir Omid, chief investment manager at the
Tamir Fishman financial group.
Israel, he continued, needs someone who
can find the middle ground between maintaining price stability and economic
growth while carefully navigating the foreign exchange market.
starting in the position, Leiderman must receive approval from the cabinet and
the committee on senior civil service appointments, chaired by retired Supreme
Court justice Jacob Turkel – the same committee that evaluated Frenkel.