After a 7-year long term, Philip Lowe’s time as governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will officially come to an end.
And in a historic move, the government has named Michele Bullock as the new governor of the RBA, making her the first woman to hold the position.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Treasurer Jim Chalmers jointly announced Bullock’s appointment on Friday, July 14, saying that after a “rigorous process” the government found that Bullock is “eminently qualified” for the role.
“After close to four decades of service to the RBA, most recently as the deputy governor, Ms Bullock is eminently qualified to lead this national institution,” Albanese said.
“Ms Bullock is an accomplished economist with wide experience at the RBA, including as deputy governor and deputy chair of the Payment Systems Board.”
The @AlboMP Govt has appointed Michele Bullock as the next Reserve Bank Governor. Her appointment strikes the optimal balance between providing exceptional experience & expertise and offering a fresh leadership perspective #ausecon #auspol @RBAInfo pic.twitter.com/rCDIKZUAzl
— Jim Chalmers MP (@JEChalmers) July 13, 2023
Chalmers added that “her appointment best combines experience and expertise with a fresh leadership perspective at the Reserve Bank as well”, before going on to say that the decision process had not been easy.
“This comes after months of deliberation and consultation and we have come at this in the most methodical and considered way that we could,” he said.
Albanese and Chalmers also thanked Lowe for his time as governor.
“We thank Phil Lowe for more than four decades of dedication and commitment and service, not just to the Reserve Bank and not just to the economy, but to our country as well,” Chalmers said.
“Phil Lowe goes with our respect. He goes with our gratitude and he goes with dignity. I want to make that clear.”
On Wednesday, Lowe told the media he would be “honoured” to continue his role as governor but would also support the government’s decision to end his term.
“In terms of my own position, as I have said before, if I was asked to continue in the role, I would be honoured to do that and I would continue,” he said.
“If I am not asked to continue in the role, I will do my best to support my successor.”
The announcement comes after months of public backlash and calls for Lowe to step down after Australians were hit with 12 interest rate hikes in the last 15 months, despite his predictions that rates would not rise before 2024.
Criticism was further intensified after Lowe suggested struggling renters get a housemate to help cover the increasing costs of living, a statement that many labelled “out of touch”.
Lowe will remain in his current role until September 17, with Bullock officially taking over as RBA governor on September 18.