CANBERRA, AAP – Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe says there are “multiple strong candidates” for deputy of the central bank, following the resignation of Guy Debelle.

Dr Debelle will step down on March 16 ahead of becoming chief financial officer of Fortescue Future Industries in June.

He has worked at the RBA for 25 years, often speaking about the opportunities for business to address climate change.

Dr Debelle was due to end his term in September 2026.

Dr Lowe told an Australian Banking Association conference on Friday he believed there were “multiple strong internal candidates” for the role.


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But he said it was up to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg whether he wanted to choose someone from outside the RBA or within.

“The government will have to go through a process – it’s a really important position so they will want to make sure they pick the right person.”

Asked whether the role should be filled before the government goes into “caretaker mode” before the May election, he said: “If there is an opportunity to do so before the caretaker provisions start, I would welcome that.”

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said on Thursday Dr Debelle’s departure represented an important opportunity for renewal, and to promote more women into the most senior ranks in particular.

He said Labor expected to be properly consulted on the appointment, especially given the proximity to the election.

Dr Lowe’s own term is due to expire in 2023.

Asked of his future intentions, he said: “The job that I have is a huge privilege and honour … whether I stay on beyond the current term is a matter for the government.”

“I feel very strongly (about) public service, so I would do whatever I was asked to do.”