Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank, is using headhunters Odgers Berndtson to find the candidate for the role, which is to be advertised shortly.
The chief operating officer will be responsible for day-to-day management to permit the governor and his deputies to focus on making policy decisions at the Bank, which is in the processing of creating a new subsidiary – the Prudential Regulation Authority – which will oversee banks and insurers.
The government is also intending to hand the Bank of England extra powers to ensure the stability of financial markets.
The decision to appoint a chief operating officer was taken by the Court of the Bank of England – akin to a board of directors – and comes amid criticism that the governor is being handed too many powers.
The salary being offered was not disclosed although the deputy governors – Paul Tucker and Charlie Bean – are paid £258,000 a year. The chief operating officer is likely to be appointed ahead of King's planned retirement at the end of June and one of his first roles will be to appoint a new finance director to replace Warwick Jones, whose retirement was announced by the Bank on Monday.
Jones, who joined the Bank in 2006, will retire at the same time as King. "I have enjoyed the support of exceptionally talented colleagues, and I now look forward to spending more time at the Oval and, of course, with my family," Jones said.
King's role has already been advertised and speculation continues to grow about his successor, who is expected to be named alongside the autumn statement on 5 December. According to bookmakers, Tucker is odds-on favourite. Other candidates are Sir John Vickers, who headed the Independent Commission on Banking, Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority and Sharon Bowles, the Liberal Democrat MEP. Lord Burns, chairman of Santander, is also regarded as a possible contender.
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