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Monday, July 20, 2009

Who is Gill Marcus ?

President Zuma has appointed Absa Group's chairwoman Gill Marcus to take over from Tito Mboweni as governor of the SA Reserve Bank from the 9th of November 2009.

You may not recall who Gill Marcus is however she has held a number of executive positions in the private sector. She served as deputy finance minister from 96 to 99, and was deputy governor of the country's central bank from 99 to 2004.

Mboweni, whose contract ends on 8 August has said that he did not "want" to stay on longer. Stressful jobs will do that to you. Pres. Zuma has said the Mr Mboweni wishes to pursue "other interests".

It sounds all very civil, however there is an undercurret of "politics at play". While Zuma had only good words regarding Tito, it is no secret that the governor has been unpopular with key Zuma supporters, including trade unions and communists. These parties argue that Mboweni has focused too narrowly on inflation targeting at the expense of economic growth and employment. This combined with the last minute nature of the anouncement (Under President Mandela, markets were given a year's notice that then-governor Chris Stals would be replaced by Mboweni) makes people wonder.

However Tito has said of Marcus that: "It's a very good choice, she will do a very good job".

We all hope so.

From relative obscurity Gill Marcus has been thrust into our collective awareness and her voice will soon herald good or bad news for the interest rate watching consumer.

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