Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Swan fills two RBA vacancies, one at the last minute

Treasurer Wayne Swan has appointed two new Reserve Bank board members, one who left yesterday amid uncertainty about whether she would be able to attend her first board meeting next Tuesday, and the other at present in the strife-torn principality of Bahrain, as the head of planning at its Economic Development Board.

A resources company executive Catherine Tanna will replace former National Farmers Federation president ational Farmers' Federation president Donald McGauchie whose term expires today.

Ms Tanna left for overseas yesterday and a spokesman for the BG Group of which she is an Australian executive vice-president said it was not clear whether she would be able to attend Tuesday’s meeting.

John Edwards, an former advisor to the Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating and his biographer is at present in Bahrain working for its Economic Development Board. He told The Age/Herlad by email he “was deeply buried in Middle East and Bahrain issues,” and as a result reluctant to talk about Australia.

Bahrain’s leading opposition group siad yesterday more than 250 people had been detained and 44 were missing after a security crackdown crushed weeks of protests...

Before leaving for Bahrain in 2009 Dr Edwards worked for 12 years as the chief economist for HSBC Australia.

He will replace Australian National University economist Warwick McKibbin on the Reserve Bank board in August.

Professor McKibbin, a critic of the government on details of its economic stimulus program, said he was told about the decision to deny him a third five-year term on Monday night. He wished Dr Edwards well saying he would enjoy the job and find it a great opportunity.

“It’s every economists dream really, to be on the board,” he said.

An internationally-recognised economic modeler, Professor McKibbin said he would devote more time to running the ANU Research School of Economics and to surfing with his partner and children.

Mr Swan said thanked both retiring members for their service, saying they had each served 10 years which was a “very significant contribution over a long period of time”.

Published in today's Age

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