Mark Carney. Picture: REUTERS
Mark Carney. Picture: REUTERS

London — Bank of England (BOE) governor Mark Carney will stay on in his role until January 2020, UK’s chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond said.

Ending days of mounting speculation, Hammond confirmed to lawmakers on Tuesday that the Canadian, who had been due to step down in June 2019, will extend his term to help steer the UK economy in the wake of Brexit.

The decision is likely to prove controversial as Carney’s tenure at the BOE has long drawn both criticism and praise. He was seen as a key source of stability in the political power vacuum that followed the Brexit vote, with one former policy maker calling him the "only adult in the room" for his pledge to support the financial system in the immediate aftermath.

He also drew the ire of pro-Brexit lawmakers who believe he waded too far into the political debate, and has been accused of botching messages on policy for most of his time at the bank.

Speaking before lawmakers last week, Carney confirmed that he was in talks to remain at the central bank, but declined to give further details. With the March Brexit deadline looming, the UK’s future relationship with the EU remains unclear, while Prime Minister Theresa May’s current plan is proving unpopular with lawmakers both at home and abroad.

"I fully recognise that during this critical period, it’s important that everyone does everything they can to help with the transition of exiting the EU," Carney said. "I certainly can’t make announcements on behalf of the government but I’ll do whatever I can to support this process."

The extension isn’t the first of Carney’s tenure at Threadneedle Street. The former Bank of Canada chief was appointed to the role in late 2012 after previously saying he wasn’t interested in the job, and initially agreed to serve just five years of what is usually an eight-year term. Following Britain’s Brexit vote, he agreed to remain in place an additional year to the end of June.

The decision also raises questions about the government’s grasp of the Brexit process if Carney’s presence is needed to ensure stability, or the UK treasury is struggling to find a replacement while it focuses on negotiations.