Charlotte Hogg has been vindicated but her exit from the Bank of England remains a loss

 
Emma Haslett
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Hogg's (middle) departure coincides with those of two other senior women at the Bank (Source: Getty)

Bank of England deputy governor Charlotte Hogg was not short of big-name supporters when she handed in her notice in March.

Her resignation came after intense scrutiny from MPs, who lashed out after it emerged she had failed to list her brother, a senior banker at Barclays, among potential conflicts of interest.

Her boss, Mark Carney, “deeply” regretted Hogg’s resignation, he said, while George Osborne also rushed to her defence, tweeting she was a “loss to public life”.

Read more: Charlotte Hogg's resignation was "disproportionate" to her offence

Yesterday, the day before her departure, the Bank’s director also defended her in a report saying her resignation was “disproportionate” to her offence.

Hogg’s exit comes in the same week another senior banking figure was hauled over the coals (again). Barclays chief executive Jes Staley began the lender’s AGM on Wednesday with an apology to shareholders after he was outed by the Financial Conduct Authority for trying to identify a whistleblower. ‚Äč“I made a mistake,” he said.

Read more: Carney says Bank will learn from Charlotte Hogg fiasco

Public figures should, as a matter of course, be subject to scrutiny. But there is a fine line between holding people to account and over-reacting to honest mistakes. The reaction to Staley’s indiscretion – an investigation by the regulator, shareholder ire, and a cut to his bonus – was proportionate, and suggests the system is working.

On the other hand, Hogg’s was a “potential” conflict of interest: there was no evidence of actual wrongdoing. Carney said he had given her a verbal warning, but did not judge it to be a “hanging offence”.

Read more: Revealed: The Treasury will look for two people to replace Charlotte Hogg

By all accounts, Hogg is well-liked, a Bank staffer its directors credit with having made a “significant and lasting contribution”. Both she and the Bank’s internal disciplinary procedures deserved the benefit of the doubt.

As a side note, Hogg’s departure coincides with those of two other senior women at the Bank: Kristin Forbes, the MPC’s only hawk, leaves next month, while Jenny Scott, its communications chief, announced her departure in April. That leaves the MPC with no women (although it has been reported she will be replaced by veteran financier Gay Huey Evans). The Bank has set itself a target to raise the percentage of women in senior roles from 28 per cent to 35 per cent: with an exodus like this, Carney has his work cut out.

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