Bank of Israel head submits resignation

Bank of Israel head submits resignation

JERUSALEM - The Associated Press
Bank of Israel head submits resignation

Bank of Israel Gov Stanley Fischer has submitted his resignation.

Stanley Fischer, the governor of the Bank of Israel, has submitted his resignation despite receiving widespread credit for steering the nation’s economy safely through years of global financial turmoil.

The lender said in a brief statement Jan. 29 that Fischer had informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would step down on June 30, but provided no reason for the departure, saying only that he was set to give a news conference yesterday to formally announce the decision.

Fischer, an internationally respected economist, served as deputy director of the International Monetary Fund and held top posts at the World Bank and Citigroup Inc. before taking over Israel’s central bank in 2005.

His monetary policies and Israel’s tight control of its banks have been credited for the nation’s stability despite the worldwide economic crisis that hit during his reign. Israel’s economy continues to grow, and unemployment is roughly 6.5 percent, relatively low in world terms.

His departure comes two years before the end of his second five-year term. Israeli media speculated that his resignation was due to personal reasons, not a disagreement with the government.

In a statement, Netanyahu praised Fischer and thanked him for his service. “Professor Fischer played a major role in the economy of Israel. His experience and his international connections opened a door to the economies of the world and assisted the Israeli economy in reaching many achievements during a period of global economic crisis,” he said.

With the economy improving in 2009, Israel began raising interest rates, making it the first nation to take such a step toward post-recession stabilization. “No man is irreplaceable, but his departure is a huge loss to the Israeli economy,” he said.