James Moore: New boy Carney's hands will be tied when it comes to actually changing things

Outlook: Mr Carney will be in charge of implementing a structure that has already been laid out for him
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The Independent Online

The most important qualification for a top job in the public sector appears to be that you must first rule yourself out.

That's what Lord Tony Hall did before becoming director general of the BBC and that's what Mark Carney made use of the BBC to do before his appointment as the next Governor of the Bank of England.

Mr Carney's apparent reluctance is understandable. The head of Canada's central bank is trading a growing, resource-rich economy for an anaemic and uncertain nation 21 miles away from the eurozone. Oh dear.

What's more, Canada's tightly regulated and largely compliant banks breezed through the financial crisis by managing to avoid most of the potholes that Britain's banks merrily fell into.

But that's only the half of it.

Much was made yesterday of the capacity of Mr Carney, who was cheered from both sides of the political divide, to bring "new ideas" to the role.

But that anaemic economy means his hands appear to be tied when it comes to monetary policy unless he fancies playing around with the way the Bank has attempted to get things moving by buying Government bonds.

Then there's overseeing the financial soundness of banks. Imposing Canadian standards on Britain's banks (and on its financial centre) would be extremely difficult. They're a world apart in terms of size, complexity and importance to the economy.

But even if Mr Carney wanted to, he wouldn't be able to. By the time he has his feet under his desk the ground rules will have been set – as the Chancellor, George Osborne, made clear when the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards sought to question plans to "ring-fence" retail banking.

Mr Carney will, in effect, be in charge of implementing a structure that has already been laid out for him, without being able to influence it much.

That ought to reassure Barclays, in particular. In Canada, if you want to open a bank you can't open it as a branch; it has to be a subsidiary. It sounds technical, but is in fact rather important. Changing Barclays' branch-based structure would entail considerable upheaval, and cost, at a time when its focus really ought to be on cleaning house.

All things considered, it must have taken a lot of sweet talking from Mr Osborne to get Mr Carney to change his mind and sign on. That and a doubling of the salary paid to his predecessor (well he is a Goldman Sachs alumnus).

Mr Carney has been asked to take on a role of huge public importance, and visibility, which is not, however, quite as powerful as it would appear.

Perhaps that's why he insisted on changing the term of the appointment from the eight years advertised to five.

In the meantime there is the question of what next for the spurned deputy governor.

Mr Carney's appointment will come as a bitter blow to Paul Tucker, pictured, who has spent his entire career at the Bank and had been all but crowned as the prince in waiting by everyone except those making the appointment.

He knows where the bodies are buried. But will he be prepared to let them slumber?

Dalman's in charge (of everything) at ENRC

Events at ENRC are rapidly getting beyond parody.

It's just that there's not much to laugh about because the miner is in the FTSE 100 so your pension is likely to have at least some money invested in it.

After a boardroom bust up led to the ousting of two rather well respected non executive directors, one of whom described the company as "more Soviet than City", financier Mehmet Dalman was promoted to chairman with the aim of restoring the group's fraying credibility.

That looked like the first sensible thing the company – which has faced widespread criticism not to mention an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office – had done in a long time. Mr Dalman, you see, is a member of the City's nobility, having navigated the treacherous waters of investment banking with great success.

If Mr Dalman could make ENRC look a bit more like a normal public company than the plaything of wealthy Kazakh oligarchs then there could be a good bit of value to be had: the miner is not without its problems, but it should still make the thick end of £700m this year.

The trouble is Mr Dalman doesn't appear content to do that. Having sat at the head of the board as non-executive chairman for a matter of months, he's now decided that he needs a more hands-on role.

To that end he's taken control of finance, risk, human resources, compliance and investor relations at the company from Felix Vulis, the chief executive.

The board hasn't named Mr Dalman executive chairman yet, but it might just as well have.

Meanwhile, the hapless Mr Vulis has effectively been demoted to chief operating officer and is in office, but not in power, as ENRC once again drives a coach and horses through guidelines that sensibly run companies follow as a matter of course.

With good reason, a chief executive is supposed to run the company, the (non-executive) chairman runs the board and oversees the latter's work on behalf of shareholders. That way you have effective oversight and prevent too much concentration of power in one person's hands.

Mr Dalman has explained ENRC's novel take on this as "an efficient addition and division of labour between Felix and myself, drawing on my past experience as a senior executive at a number of leading global institutions". For which, read: "I'm in charge here."

When these plans were first mooted last month, another director likened them to a "lynch mob" aimed at Mr Vulis.

They're an eminently quotable lot, the directors of ENRC. Where nothing much, it seems, has really changed.