Two new directors at Bank of England

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The Independent Online
THE BANK of England yesterday elevated two veteran officials to its court of directors and reorganised its international arm to deepen contacts with other central banks by abolishing the post of international director.

Pen Kent, an associate director responsible for finance and industry, and Ian Plenderleith, another associate director handling monetary policy and the registrar's department, will both become full directors. Mr Plenderleith succeeds Anthony Coleby, director for monetary policy, who retires in February.

Mr Kent will replace Andrew Crockett, the Bank director in charge of international work, who next month becomes general manager of the Bank for International Settlements. However, Mr Kent will not take up Mr Crockett's responsibilities but will remain in charge of finance and industry and of the Bank's printing works.

Mr Crockett's prestigious job is being carved up among several Bank officials including Eddie George, the Governor, to ensure that the Bank is represented at international meetings by its most knowledgeable official on any issue.

For instance, Alastair Clark, who heads the Europe division, will attend meetings of the EU Monetary Committee and the European Monetary Institute and also the monthly talks at the BIS. Bill Allen, in charge of foreign exchange, will also attend BIS meetings. Mr George plans occasional attendances. Group of Seven meetings will be covered by Professor Mervyn King, the Bank's chief economist.

The Bank is not worried that this strategy risks diminishing its influence in the world of central bankers, who like to know who they are dealing with. 'People who are actually involved in the work will go to the meetings,' a Bank source said. 'It may enhance the role of the Bank in international talks.'

The decision is part of a wide-ranging review launched recently by Mr George to streamline the Bank's operations along two broad lines - monetary policy and financial policy. The review appears to reflect the Bingham report's criticism of the Bank's role in the collapse of Bank of Credit and Commerce International.

It echoes the shake-up at the Treasury this week, intended to make the department more responsive to industry and clear out a top-heavy management structure.