Wharton Prof. Amir Yaron named governor of Bank of Israel

“It is our duty to always seek out the greatest talents in the field,” Netanyahu said, expressing pleasure that Yaron agreed to come to Israel.

By Mara Vigevani, TPS

Professor Amir Yaron, a professor of finance at the Wharton Business School, was named Tuesday as the next governor of the Bank of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon announced the appointment at a joint press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office.

“It is our duty to always seek out the greatest talents in the field, and I was happy that Prof. Yaron accepted my request and that of the Minister of Finance to come to Israel,” Netanyahu said.

“A person with great ability and independence must lead the Bank of Israel. Yaron meets these criteria,” the prime minister added.

Netanyahu thanked outgoing governor Karnit Flug for her “dedicated and excellent service.”

Kahlon said Yaron was chosen among excellent candidates to “meet the future economic challenges” and that the newly appointed governor is the “right person for the mission.”

Yaron, 54, holds dual Israeli-American citizenship and for the past 20 years has lived in the United States, where he is a finance professor at the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a research associate at the US National Bureau of Economic Research.

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He grew up in Ramat Hasharon, a suburb of Tel Aviv. After graduating with an M.A. from Tel Aviv University, he completed his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, specializing in asset pricing, investments, risk-return strategies, macroeconomics and finance.

The appointment will be presented to the Goldberg Committee, which vets senior public service appointments, before it can be approved by the government.

Flug, who has held the position since 2013, announced in July that she would not seek a second term following a dispute with Kahlon over government fiscal and housing policy.

“I will be happy to be at his disposal and assist him in entering into the position as required,” Flug said in a statement shortly after the appointment was announced.

Yaron will find a professional and dedicated team of management and employees at the Bank of Israel that “will help him to continue to conduct a successful policy in favor of the Israeli economy,” she added.

Other candidates for the position included Bar Ilan University Professor Ben-Zion Zilberfarb, Tel Aviv University Professor Efraim Sadka and Mario Blejer, a former head of Argentina’s central bank.