Former Virgin Money boss among two women hired on Bank committee

Two of the UK’s most prominent women in banking have been appointed to the Bank of England’s financial watchdog.

Former Virgin Money boss Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia has been named as an incoming external member of the Bank’s Financial Policy Committee (FPC), just days after being recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list.

The Treasury also announced that Banking Standards Board chairwoman Dame Colette Bowe will join the FPC as it boosts the ranks of senior women at the Bank.

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Incoming FPC member Jayne-Anne Gadhia was awarded a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2019 New Year Honours list. (Virgin Money/PA)

It comes after the Bank has come under fire for missing its own targets on gender diversity.

The Treasury revealed that 20 of the 42 applicants for the FPC roles were women, with five women and three men reaching the shortlist stage.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said: “The Financial Policy Committee’s importance to the protection and resilience of our economy cannot be overstated, which is why we have some of the finest talent in finance on it.

“The insight and experience that both Dame Colette and Dame Jayne-Anne bring will be valuable assets to the committee’s vital work.”

Bank of England governor Mark Carney added further praise for the new FPC hires.

He said Dame Colette – also a former chairwoman of the regulator Ofcom – has “led the way in developing and embedding better standards of conduct across the banking sector”.

“Her experience in the private sector and handling some of the biggest regulatory challenges of our times will also be extremely valuable to the committee’s deliberations in the coming years,” he said.

He also welcomed Dame Jayne-Anne’s “deep and relevant experience in retail banking”.

“In her public policy she has championed the transformative impact of adopting new technologies and of greater diversity within the workforce of the financial services industry,” he said.

The duo will replace incumbent external FPC members Richard Sharp and Martin Taylor, who are stepping down at the end of the first quarter and second quarter respectively.

Dame Jayne-Anne will take up her role in time for the FPC’s second quarter round of meetings, with Dame Colette taking up her post in time for the third quarter round of meetings.

It comes after the ex-Virgin Money chief executive received a Damehood for her contribution to financial services and women in the finance industry, adding to the CBE she received in 2014.

The appointments may go some way to helping improve the image of the Bank on gender diversity after it faced criticism last year over the hiring of two men to senior roles, including Sir Dave Ramsden on the Monetary Policy Committee.

There was also a backlash after deputy governor Ben Broadbent described the UK economy as “menopausal” in May.