Britain’s main financial regulator has been without a permanent head since its previous chief, Martin Wheatley, resigned in mid-July after being told by the chancellor his contract would not be renewed.
Questioned about the lack of permanent head at the FCA nearly five months on, Osborne told the BBC on Thursday: “There’s a very effective interim leader, in Tracey McDermott, she’s been doing a good job, she doesn’t want the job full-time.”
Osborne said the search for a new head, which began as soon as Wheatley resigned, was still going on. “We’re looking now for the very best candidate,“ he said.
The FCA later confirmed that McDermott had decided in early December to withdraw from the process to appoint the permanent chief executive.
" I have decided that this is not the right job for me at this stage of my career."
Not the right job
“I have been at the FSA/FCA for 15 years and I remain extremely committed to, and passionate about, the important work we do. It has been, and remains, a privilege to lead this organisation,” McDermott said in a statement.
“However, going through the recruitment process has made me reflect on what I want to do with the rest of my career. As a result I have decided that this is not the right job for me at this stage of my career. This was a decision taken after many months of careful thought and was not one that I took lightly. ”
FCA chairman John Griffith-Jones said: “I understand and respect the decision Tracey has made. The Board and I will continue to work together with her until the new chief executive is in post.”
McDermott, who took over the top job in September, had been seen by some as the front runner for the position, with the only other contender named so far being the chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Greg Medcraft.
Anyone accepting the new job would be taking on a 3,000-member organisation facing a number of big issues from its decision not to review banking behaviour in the wake of the financial crisis faces to completion of a review into the whole financial advice market.