Britain on Monday named Canadian central bank chief Mark Carney as the new Bank of England governor, picking the first ever foreigner to lead the institution through a period of enormous change.
Finance minister George Osborne told lawmakers he had chosen the 47-year-old Carney because he was the "outstanding central banker of his generation", while Carney said he was honoured to be picked.
"He is quite simply the best, most experienced and most qualified person in the world to be the next governor of the Bank of England," Osborne said in a statement to parliament.
Carney, who is currently governor of the Bank of Canada and chair of the global Financial Stability Board (FSB), will take over from Mervyn King, who has lead the BoE since 2003 and is due to step down on June 30.
The new BoE governor, who intends to take on British citizenship and is married to a British wife, was born in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada.
"Mark Carney is not a British citizen but he is a subject of the queen," Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne said, to cheers from MPs.
Carney, who previously worked for 13 years at US investment bank Goldman Sachs including in London, will serve a five-year term as BoE governor and stand down at the end of June 2018.
He is the first non-British citizen appointed as governor since the British central bank was founded in 1694, officials confirmed.
"I am honoured to accept this important and demanding role, and to succeed Sir Mervyn King with whom I have worked closely over these past five years and from whom I learned so much," Carney said in a statement.
"This is a critical time for the British, European and global economies; a decisive period for reform of the global financial system including its leading financial centre, the City of London; and a crucial point in the Bank of England's history as it accepts vital new responsibilities."
Carney comes from outside Europe, but in his role at the FSB has been involved in dealing with some of the fallout from the global financial crisis and fighting the eurozone's long-running sovereign debt crisis.
Britain is not a member of the eurozone, but is deeply concerned that the thrust of European Union policies to reform finance threaten the City of London.
The appointment comes amid a series of damaging scandals that have rocked London's City financial district and sparked fresh concerns over the banking sector's conduct -- particularly over the Barclays Libor rate-rigging affair.
Carney also takes the helm with the BoE due to take over banking regulation from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) next year, as part of a regulatory revamp aimed at avoiding a repeat of the devastating financial crisis.
The governor leads the Bank of England, an independent body which sets interest rates and has pumped out billions of pounds under its radical quantitative easing policy since 2009 to stimulate economic growth.
Osborne said Carney had "unparallelled expertise in financial regulation" and had helped steer Canada through the financial crisis.
"He will bring a fresh perspective," Osborne told parliament. "He has got what it takes to help bring families and businesses through these incredibly challenging economic times.
"My responsibility was to get the best for Britain, and with Mark Carney we've got that."
The announcement took markets by surprise because the bookies' favourite had been current deputy governor Paul Tucker.
Carney will succeed King, 64, under whose watch the British central bank played a vital role in stabilising world financial markets following the 2007/2008 global financial crisis.
King meanwhile welcomed the appointment, adding that he represented "a new generation of leadership for the Bank of England ... and an outstanding choice to succeed me."
Under King's tenure, the BoE sought to aid economic recovery by slashing its key interest rate to a record low of 0.50 percent, where it has stood since March 2009, when it also launched its quantitative easing (QE) stimulus policy.
The bank has so far pumped a total of £375 billion ($604 billion, 467 billion euros) into Britain's economy, which bounced out of recession in the third quarter of 2012 with the help of the London Olympics.