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RBA boss Philip Lowe replacement announced in historic decision: 'Right call'

Michele Bullock will replace Philip Lowe as RBA governor.

Philip Lowe RBA.
Philip Lowe will not be reappointed as the governor of the RBA. (Source: Getty)

Deputy RBA governor Michele Bullock will be the next governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), making her the first female head of the central bank.

Bullock has a distinguished career at the RBA, after joining in 1985 as an analyst, and has been the deputy RBA governor since April 2022.

“Michele will be the first female governor since the independent RBA was founded in 1959. After close to four decades of service to the RBA, most recently as the deputy governor, Ms Bullock is eminently qualified to lead this national institution,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.

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Treasurer Jim Chalmers called it a “history-making appointment” to the RBA.

“This is the right call, but not an easy call,” Chalmers said.

"This is a big job. This is one of the most important appointments that we will make as a government and so we have treated it methodically and in a considered and consultative way as well."

"Phil Lowe goes with our respect. He goes with our gratitude, and he goes with dignity, and I want to make that clear."

Who is Michele Bullock?

Bullock is no stranger to making history, having been named the RBA's first female deputy governor last year.

She has worked for the RBA since 1985, serving as an assistant governor and holding various senior management positions.

She is also deputy chair of the Reserve Bank board and deputy chair of the Payments System board and a member of Chief Executive Women (CEW).

Michele Bullock
Michele Bullock will be the first female governor in the RBA's history. (Source: AAP)

Why is Philip Lowe being replaced?

Philip Lowe’s term as RBA governor is expiring in September. RBA governors are appointed every seven years, but the most recent two had their terms extended by three years.

Lowe has faced heavy public criticism and calls for his resignation over the RBA’s decision to aggressively hike interest rates to try to rein in inflation, raising the official cash rate from 0.1 per cent to 4.1 per cent in just over a year.

The governor also came under fire for his comments suggesting that interest rates would stay at record lows of 0.10 per cent until at least 2024.

During his last speech as governor this week, Lowe commented: “If I was asked to continue in the role, I would be honoured to do that and I would continue.

“If I am not asked to continue in the role, I will do my best to support my successor.”

Who appoints the RBA boss?

The RBA governor is appointed by the federal treasurer for terms of up to seven years.

There was a cabinet meeting this morning to decide who would take on the top job. The cabinet is a group of senior members of the government, including the Prime Minister.

How much is the RBA governor paid?

Philip Lowe was paid roughly $1 million per year as RBA governor, according to the RBA’s 2022 annual report. This was made up of a base salary of $890,252 a year, plus $115,171 in superannuation contributions.

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