Regulation  

Osborne says Wheatley ‘wasn’t the right person’

Osborne says Wheatley ‘wasn’t the right person’

Chancellor George Osborne has spoken out about the departure of Martin Wheatley as chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority.

During today’s (22 October) Treasury Select Committee discussion on the Bank of England Bill, he said: “Martin Wheatley did an excellent job in creating the FCA but we took the view that he wasn’t the right person to carry on with the next phase of the FCA’s development.”

He added that no one should assume public appointment contracts will be repeated automatically, noting that the government is now in the process of searching for a new chief executive of the regulator.

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“On the basis of the applications we’ve had for the job, that justifies our decision. Obviously I am in conversation with the chairman of the FCA,” Mr Osborne continued. “I don’t directly interact with the board and I don’t want to suggest anything about the nature of the conversation.”

Back in July, the FCA revealed Mr Wheatley, who famously said he would “shoot first” and ask questions later, did not have his contract renewed by the chancellor.

The government stated that “different leadership” was needed to take the FCA forward.

At the time of axing Mr Wheatley, Mr Osborne said that the UK needs a tough, strong financial conduct regulator, with different leadership to take it to the next stage.

Mr Wheatley’s exit came after the FCA published the report of Clifford Chance partner Simon Davis’ on handling of the closed life book press briefing. The report was highly critical, stating that the regulator handled the release of information about a forthcoming thematic review in a manner that was “high risk, poorly supervised and inadequately controlled”.

ruth.gillbe@ft.com