THE Bank of England looks set to get its first ever female Governor when Mark Carney steps down next year.

Experts tipped Prime Minister Theresa May to appoint a woman to head up the Bank — dubbed the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street.

Chancellor Philip Hammond yesterday hired a headhunter known for “diversity” to fill the £480,000-a-year vacancy.

Canadian Mr Carney steps down on January 31.

Rupert Harrison, a former chief of staff for ex Conservative Chancellor George Osborne, said: “OK I’m getting my punt out there early.

“If Theresa May is still Prime Minister this autumn then I reckon she might like part of her legacy to be the first female Governor of the Bank of England.”

His steady hand has helped steer the UK economy through a challenging period

He hailed Minouche Shafik, 57, who briefly served as Bank deputy, and current Ofcom chief Sharon White, 52, as “credible candidates”.

The Treasury’s choice of headhunter, Sapphire, has placed Virgin Money chief Jayne-Anne Gadhia on the Bank’s financial policy committee.

Mr Carney, 54, is the 120th Governor since Sir John Houblon in 1694 and the first non-Brit.

Tory Eurosceptics have attacked him for “doom-laden” Brexit forecasts since the EU referendum.

But Mr Hammond yesterday praised Mr Carney, who took over the role in 2013. He said “His steady hand has helped steer the UK economy through a challenging period.

“We are now seeing stable, low inflation and the fastest wage growth in over a decade.”

He added that under Mr Carney’s leadership, reforms have made the financial system “safe and more accountable”.

But former Bank rate setter David Blanchflower said the role had become too politicised and was now a “poisoned chalice”

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