Despite the ill-fated choice of Rupert Pennant-Rea, a former jounalist, who was forced out of the Bank on Tuesday by a sex scandal, officials said they would still prefer another non-Bank person as his replacement.
"We are looking for someone with a different perspective, a lot more variety in life than as a career central banker," said an executive involved in the search for a successor.
The Court of the Bank of England, equivalent to its board of directors, yesterday offered Mr Pennant-Rea an ex gratia payment of £45,000. Because Mr Pennant-Rea, who resigned over an affair with a journalist, is not allowed under the terms of his former employment to take another job for three months, the Bank decided to pay him for this period, as a proportion of his £180,000-a-year salary.
Nobody has been approached yet for the job, sources confirmed yesterday, as the discussions have only just begun among the key centres in the selection process.
Number 10 will be putting forward its short-list, as will the Treasury and Eddie George, Governor of the Bank of England. "Once we have some real names in the frame, chaps will talk to chaps in the best British way. The motto this time is better get it right than get it fast," said one source.
While there are several internal candidates from the Bank of England, notably Mervyn King, chief economist, and Pen Kent, its chief of financial infrastructure, the focus of the discussions was on possible outsiders. A hot tip in the City yesterday was Rosalind Gilmore, who recently joined Lloyds to head its regulatory service, from the Building Society Commission.