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Bank of Canada’s Rhys Mendes Becomes First Non-White Deputy Governor

(Bloomberg) -- The Bank of Canada named Rhys Mendes as deputy governor, making him the first non-White member of its interest-rate-setting governing council.

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Mendes, who takes the role July 17, will oversee the bank’s economic and financial research, its analysis of international economic developments and serve as its Group of Seven and Group of 20 deputy.

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He has been with the bank since 2004 and served in senior roles including as managing director of international economic analysis. Since 2021, he has been on secondment to the Finance department, where he’s been serving as assistant deputy minister.

“I am delighted to welcome Rhys Mendes back to the bank and onto governing council,” said Governor Tiff Macklem in a news release Friday. “We will benefit greatly from his experience and expertise in economic modeling, monetary policy framework design, and international policy issues.”

Mendes will replace Paul Beaudry, who’s set to retire as deputy governor at the end of July and return to an academic post at the University of British Columbia.

Tyler Meredith, a former top economic policy adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said Mendes is an exceptional public servant and one of Canada’s “top minds on macroeconomic policy and monetary policy.”

“He also has a high degree of respect across Canada both in the academic research community, but also amongst forecasters and policy thinkers,” said Meredith, now a founding partner of consulting firm Meredith Boessenkool Policy Advisors.

The Bank of Canada is undertaking a diversity push to significantly increase the representation of women and visible minorities in senior management over the next decade. The governing council sets the strategic direction of the bank and is its policymaking body.

The six-person group includes two women, Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Rogers and Deputy Governor Sharon Kozicki. Trudeau’s government, which has had a gender-balanced cabinet since it was elected in 2015, left many women in Canadian finance disappointed when it appointed Macklem to the top job instead former No. 2 Carolyn Wilkins.

The Federal Reserve is also undergoing a diversity transformation. President Joe Biden announced new nominations on Friday that would see economist Adriana Kugler become the first Latina on the board of governors and Philip Jefferson become the second Black American to serve as its vice chairman.

Mendes was born in Richmond Hill, Ontario, and obtained a bachelor’s degree in economics from York University, as well as a master’s degree and PhD in economics from the University of Toronto.

--With assistance from Catarina Saraiva.

(Adds Tyler Meredith quote in sixth paragraph and detail about Federal Reserve in 10th paragraph)

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