Reserve Bank of Australia

Australia's Central Bank Chief Gets New Term


Australia's highly-regarded central bank governor, Glenn Stevens, will remain in his position for a further three years after his current seven-year term expires in September, Treasurer Wayne Swan said on Wednesday.

The early announcement was likely timed to avoid political uncertainty as the Labor government faces an election in September which, on current polling, it could well lose.

Stevens, 55, has been expected to seek a shortened term before likely turning the reins over to his deputy, Philip Lowe.

(Read More: RBA Keeps Rates Steady as Outlook Brightens)

This would mirror his own ascension path to the sought-after position as head of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), which with a total salary near A$1 million ($1.04 million) is among the highest-paid of any central bank.

"It's positive in that the reappointment has come well before the September elections. The risk was it could be a political issue and now it's no longer the case," said Paul Bloxham, chief economist at HSBC Australia.

Stevens is held in high esteem by financial markets, having deftly steered Australia through the global financial crisis and helping the economy extend an impressive run of 21 years of near uninterrupted growth.

Stevens, Swan and then Treasury Secretary Ken Henry worked closely to coordinate economic stimulus measures and to shore up bank funding during the 2008 global financial crisis, when the RBA slashed rates to a record-low 3.0 percent from 7.25 percent between September 2008 and March 2009.

(Read More: Australia Employment Soars, Market Gives Up on Rate Cut)

Swan said the decision to reappoint Stevens reflected his "enormous contribution to Australia's economic resilience through his conduct of monetary policy, as well as his enduring focus on financial stability."

Soft spoken and deeply religious, the governor plays guitar at his local church, likes jazz and pilots light airplanes to relax.

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Swan also appointed Kathryn Fagg as a member of the Reserve Bank Board for a five-year term starting May 7. She replaces retiring member Jillian Broadbent, who has been on the board for 15 years.

Fagg comes to the board with a corporate background, having worked in senior executive roles at Linfox, BlueScope Steel and ANZ Bank.