With McDermott out, next FCA head still being sought

With McDermott out, next FCA head still being sought

The search to fill the top job at the FCA goes on, following the decision by front-runner Tracey McDermott to rule herself out, with no end date or deadline to fill the role.

The role has been vacant since former chief executive Martin Wheatley’s contract was not renewed in July 2015.

Earlier this week the FCA confirmed that the Treasury-led recruitment process was ongoing and that Ms McDermott will continue as acting chief executive until a permanent replacement has been found, meaning that the contest for the job is no nearer resolution.

Article continues after advert

Mark Garnier, Conservative MP and member of the Treasury select committee, said: “A conclusion does have to be reached pretty quickly. There is uncertainty for the institution, for people being regulated, and for consumers.”

The Treasury formed a panel to conduct the search and run the recruitment process. The panel puts candidates forward to ministers, with whom the decision will rest.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme last week, chancellor George Osborne said that Ms McDermott had been a very effective interim leader, and that the FCA needed “new leadership to take it into its more mature phase”.

He said: “Martin [Wheatley]’s replacement will, like him, need to be passionate about protecting consumers, promoting competition and completing the job of cleaning up the City.”

Ms McDermott said: “I have been at the FSA/FCA for 15 years, and I remain extremely committed to, and passionate about, the important work we do. It has been, and remains, a privilege to lead this organisation.

“However, going through the recruitment process has made me reflect on what I want to do with the rest of my career. As a result I have decided that this is not the right job for me at this stage of my career. This was a decision taken after many months of careful thought and was not one that I took lightly.”

John Griffith-Jones, FCA chairman, said: “Ms McDermott’s stewardship of the FCA as acting chief executive has served to build on an impressive reputation created during her time leading various divisions across the FCA.

“Over the past few months I have enjoyed working closely with Tracey, and have appreciated both her advice and leadership of the organisation. I understand and respect the decision Tracey has made. The board I and will continue to work together with her until the new chief executive is in post.”

Ms McDermott – the acting FCA head since the departure of Mr Wheatley in July – was widely considered the favourite for the permanent role. She has previously been director of supervision and authorisations and, prior to that, director of enforcement and financial crime at the regulator.

Meanwhile the Treasury select committee has called for Ms McDermott and Mr Griffith-Jones to appear before it to explain why the regulator dropped a review into banking culture last month.

“The FCA’s decision to drop its review of bank culture does seem curious,” said Andrew Tyrie MP, the committee’s chairman.