Ministers confirm Amir Yaron as next Bank of Israel governor

Ministers confirm Amir Yaron as next Bank of Israel governor

Israeli-American economist thanks cabinet for ‘tremendous honor,’ hails predecessor Karnit Flug for ‘handing me a wonderfully managed institution’

Finance professor Amir Yaron. (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)
Finance professor Amir Yaron. (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)

Cabinet ministers on Sunday gave their final approval to the appointment of Amir Yaron, an Israeli-American economist, as the next governor of the Bank of Israel, the country’s central bank.

The vote during the weekly cabinet meeting came 10 days after Yaron’s appointment was approved by the top advisory committee for appointments to the most senior posts in the public service, and a month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon nominated him at a joint press conference.

Outgoing governor Karnit Flug retired last week, after announcing earlier in the year that she would not be seeking to extend her term.

Yaron hailed the ministers’ approval of his appointment Sunday as a “tremendous honor,” and thanked Netanyahu, Kahlon and the rest of the cabinet for their trust in him.

“I am aware of the heavy responsibility placed on my shoulders, and I will do all in my power to fortify the strength and continued growth of the Israeli economy so that the entire Israeli public will benefit from its results,” Yaron said in a press release.

He thanked Flug for “handing me a wonderfully managed institution that is leading an economy that is growing and stable, as well as Dr. Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg, who is serving as Acting Governor until I take up the position.

Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug at a press conference in Jerusalem on March 28, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

“I am excited to return to Israel after the years I spent in the United States pursuing my academic work, and I view this position as the pinnacle of my professional career,” he concluded.

Yaron had been working in the US as an economics professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a research associate at the US National Bureau of Economic Research.

He pursued his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Tel Aviv University, followed by a doctorate from the University of Chicago. According to his resume, he specializes in asset pricing, investments, risk-return strategies, macroeconomics and finance.

Yaron’s appointment was approved earlier this month by the Goldberg Committee. The committee, headed by former top judge Eliezer Goldberg, is charged with examining candidates’ past and credentials before they are appointed heads of Israel’s most important state bodies, especially the security services.

Netanyahu welcomed the committee’s decision at the time. “I’m certain that Prof. Amir Yaron will lead the Bank of Israel responsibly, and will contribute to the continued success of the Israeli economy,” he said in a statement.

In July, the Bank of Israel said Flug would step down after five years as governor, and would not seek a second term.

Flug, who has been in office since 2013, replaced Stanley Fischer who went on to become a — now former — US Federal Reserve vice chairman.

Stuart Winer contributed to this report.

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