Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg appointed governor of Norway’s central bank

His tenure as leader of the military alliance will end later this year

Jens Stoltenberg's position as head of Nato is due to end in October. AFP
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Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has been announced as the next governor of Norway’s central bank.

Norway’s government announced his appointment in a statement and said it hopes he can start in his new role later in the year, around December 1.

Mr Stoltenberg, 62, has been head of the trans-Atlantic military alliance since 2014. He is currently spearheading the group’s response to Russia’s increasing aggression against Ukraine, which hopes to one day join Nato.

He was Norway’s finance minister from 1996 to 2000, and prime minister from 2000 to 2001 and again from 2005 until 2013.

He had previously said if he got the central bank governor position he would not be able to start before leaving his Nato job on October 1.

After a successful first term, his mandate at the helm of Nato was extended.

Mr Stoltenberg was praised for steering the alliance through a difficult period under the Trump administration, when the US threatened not to come to the aid of member countries who were not spending enough on defence.

The current governor of Norges Bank, 70-year-old Oystein Olsen, is retiring this year after holding the position since January 1, 2011, for two terms.

The announcement about Mr Stoltenberg’s new appointment comes amid opposition worries that the move could weaken Norges Bank's independence.

Mr Stoltenberg will be in charge of setting interest rates and managing financial stability, as well as overseeing Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest, with assets of $1.4 trillion.

“I've been concerned with identifying the best central bank governor for Norway, and I'm convinced that this is Jens Stoltenberg,” Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum said in a statement.

The appointment ends any speculation that Mr Stoltenberg would stay on at Nato, and the search for a successor must now begin in earnest ahead of a meeting of member nation's leaders in June.

Ida Wolden Bache, deputy chief of the central bank and Mr Stoltenberg's main rival for the position, will be the acting governor until Mr Stoltenberg takes over.

Updated: February 04, 2022, 12:34 PM