Tiff Macklem, dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, is leaving the school and returning to his old employer. This time, however, the former senior deputy governor of the Bank of Canada will be taking over the top job at the country’s central bank just as Canada slips into its worst recession since World War II.
Macklem, 59, who started his second five-year term as dean of Rotman last July, will succeed Stephen Poloz, who was chosen to head the Bank of Canada over Macklem seven years ago in 2013. At that time, Macklem had spent most of his career at the central bank, joining it in 1984, while Poloz was then CEO of Export Development Canada.
Macklem will now succeed Poloz when his term ends on June 2. Macklem will be taking over the job at a time when millions of Canadians have signed up for government aid and the country’s companies are relying on federally backed wage subsidies to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Macklem is leaving a school that has canceled all in-person undergraduate and graduate classroom teaching and transitioned online. The Rotman home has been locked, while staff continues to work remotely during the pandemic.
‘THE BANK HAS TO BE HUMBLE ABOUT WHAT IT DOESN’T KNOW’
Before joining Rotman, Macklem was also the Bank of Canada’s chief operating officer and a member of its board of directors, overseeing strategic planning and coordinating the Bank’s operations. Before his appointment at the Bank, he served as associate deputy minister of the federal Department of Finance and Canada’s finance deputy at the G7 and G20, the IMF, and the Financial Stability Board. He also served as chair of the Standing Committee on Standards Implementation of the Financial Stability Board. In that role, he worked to establish an international system of peer review to promote and assess the implementation of new financial standards across the 24 most financially important countries in the world.
Bill Morneau, Canada’s finance minister, told a news conference today (May 1) that he is confident Macklem’s expertise in financial markets will help the central bank navigate an economic crisis never before seen in Canada.
“The bank has to be humble about what it doesn’t know,” Macklem said in Ottawa at the news conference. “There’s a lot we don’t know about this disease. There’s a lot that medical experts don’t know about this disease. But the Bank of Canada has tremendous analytic economic-financial capacity to analyze what’s going on in the economy, and the important role for the Bank of Canada is to provide Canadians with as much information as it can honestly provide as to what is happening and what the recovery could look like, recognizing that we’re probably going to have to look at more than one scenario.”
‘BUILDING A MORE INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENT AT ROTMAN AMONG ACCOMPLISHMENTS’
When Macklem was reappointed to the Rotman deanship after his first five years, he was asked to name his early accomplishments. He ticked off a number of initiatives for which he is proud. “Building a more inclusive environment where everybody can come and do their best work is one of them,” he told Poets&Quants at the time. “We’re getting more engaged with the community and the rest of the university. Second, the introduction of a number of specialized programs. They are creating new depth and capacity in some high demand areas in the marketplace where Rotman can make an outsized contribution.”
Macklem also referred to improvements in the full-time MBA program. Under his leadership, the school has launched a more flexible internship program and a revised curriculum. The revamped MBA program now allows students to take electives during the first year of their studies, have strengthened the student experience. and Increased experiential learning and self-development opportunities.
“We have really focused on the student experience, revised the curriculum, and made a number of changes to the Commerce undergraduate program. The thrust of all these changes is to give students more choice and to bring in more experiential learning and more self-development.”
In stealing Macklem back from Rotman, the government passed over Poloz’s top deputy, Carolyn Wilkins, the first woman to serve as the bank’s senior deputy governor. She would have been the first woman to serve as governor.