Bank of Israel Director Picks Veteran Operations Head as Deputy

Andrew Abir, who started in the dealing room three decades ago, has been at the forefront of a strategy to buy foreign currency instead of lowering interest rates in order to tame the shekel

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Andrew Abir speaks at a conference in Tel Aviv, February 28, 2012.
Andrew Abir speaks at a conference in Tel Aviv, February 28, 2012.Credit: Ofer Vaknin

Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron intends to recommend the appointment of Andrew Abir as his deputy, the central bank said on Wednesday, filling a position that has been vacant for almost a year.

Abir, a voting member of the monetary policy committee (MPC) since 2017, has been for the past eight years the head of the Bank of Israel’s market operations department, which is responsible for managing the bank’s foreign exchange reserves.

The position of deputy governor has been vacant since Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg’s five-year term ended in February, leaving the MPC with five members.

Yaron has notified Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of his intent to nominate the Oxford-educated Abir, whose career at the Bank of Israel began in the dealing room in 1987, to the post of deputy governor.

“Andrew will provide the bank with his years-long experience in formulating and implementing policy, and the operation of complex financial systems, while adopting technological innovation,” Yaron said in a statement. “All these will help us to lead the processes that the Bank of Israel is planning for the financial system and the economy.”

The appointment is subject to approval from a special government vetting committee as well as the cabinet.

After the central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.25% in contrast to expectations of a 15 basis point rate reduction in late November, Abir told Reuters that policymakers believed intervention in the forex market was more suitable than rate cuts to lift inflation and boost Israel’s economy.

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