New MPC member tipped as future Governor

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A high-flying Bank official tipped by some as a future Governor was appointed yesterday to the Monetary Policy Committee.

Paul Tucker, 44, will replace Ian Plenderleith, who retires at the end of May, as the Bank's executive director with responsibility for market operations.

He joined the Bank in 1980 and in 1989 became the principal private secretary to the Governor, Sir Edward George. In 1994 he was made head of gilt-edged and money markets division, and in 1997 he was appointed head of monetary assessment and strategy division. In January 1999 he was made deputy director, financial stability.

"He has been in the slipstream and has made a rapid rise in the Bank," said one former Bank official. "If anything he is projected as a future Governor."

His views on monetary policy are not known. "I don't think he comes with any particular stance one way or another," said one City economist. "I would be surprised if he were to vote against the Governor. He is basically his right-hand man."

The appointment leaves open the issue of Sushil Wadhwani's term on the MPC, which ends in May. It is understood a decision has still to be made.

There has been speculation Dr Wadhwani could be offered another term but senior MPC sources told The Independent they doubted he would want to stay with the Bank for another three years.

Sir Edward retires in the middle of 2003 and one of his deputies, Mervyn King, is favoured to replace him.